Enamel, inlays, and calculus, oh my! Dentists offices are full of common, and not so common, words and phrases that many people haven’t heard of. Today, we’d like to give a little vocabulary lesson to help you know exactly what we’re talking about in these blogs.

Bite: When used as a verb, ‘bite’ is something your dentist usually does not want you to do – especially when they’re working inside of your mouth! However, as a noun, ‘bite’ refers to the relationship of your upper and lower teeth. For example, if your bite is out of alignment, you may need braces. Additionally, the term ‘occlusion’ is another word for ‘bite,’ and a ‘malocclusion’ refers to a misalignment of the top and bottom teeth.

Bruxism: Bruxism is the medical term for “teeth grinding.” Usually done in one’s sleep, bruxism can lead to permanent damage to the tooth that can result in the need for root canals or implants.

Calculus: No, this isn’t your high school math class. In the dentist’s office, calculus refers to a hard, calcium-like deposit that occurs when plaque is not adequately controlled. Calculus is more commonly known as tartar.

Crown: When we hear the term “crown” in a dentist’s office, many of us think about an artificial cap that is adhered permanently to a damaged tooth. However, the ‘crown’ is also a part of your natural tooth. The crown of the tooth is simply the top of the tooth that faces away from the gum. The shape of the crown helps to tell us the function of the tooth. Front teeth are generally sharp for cutting and biting, while back teeth are flat to help grind food.

Deciduous teeth: This is just a fancy term for “baby teeth.” These teeth are temporary and will fall out throughout childhood. The word ‘deciduous’ is most often used when referring to trees that shed their leaves annually, however the term makes sense as, technically speaking, children “shed” their baby teeth.

Enamel: Next to the root – which we will get to – the enamel of a tooth is the part of the tooth anatomy we most often talk about. The enamel is the hardest tissue in the body, and protects the soft interior of the tooth.

Plaque: Plaque is the sticky film that is composed of saliva, food particles, and bacteria. Plaque is constantly forming on our teeth, however most is removed with regular brushing. If plaque is left alone for too long, it can turn into tartar or calculus.

Root: The root of the tooth is the part that is embedded into your jawbone and skull. The root makes up the majority of a tooth’s length, and anchors the tooth in place.

Types Of Artificial Teeth

When a person is missing one or more of their teeth, there are several options when it comes to artificial replacements – and sometimes it can be hard to keep track of what is what! At Shores Family Dentistry, we offer the following options for cosmetic teeth.

Veneers: Veneers refer to a layer of porcelain that is placed on a person’s existing tooth to fix imperfections. Veneers can help hide a gap between teeth or fix teeth that are chipped or cracked.

Implants: Dental implants are a type of prosthetic dentistry where artificial teeth are surgically placed in the jaw bone. After a few months, the bone will fuse to the implant, making it a permanent feature in your mouth.

Dentures: Dentures not only act as a replacement for teeth, but for surrounding tissue as well, such as the gums. Dentures are also known as “false teeth,” and are what most people picture when thinking about a mouth full of artificial teeth. Dentures are removable and adhere to the gumline using a temporary adhesive.

Bridges: A dental bridge is a device designed to fill a gap left by one or more missing teeth. A bridge looks and feels like natural teeth, and is a discreet way to fix your smile. Bridges require good oral hygiene to avoid infection, and are affixed to teeth on either side of the gap.

Shores Family Dentistry Has The Professionals You Need

When it comes to your teeth, you want to make sure you get the top quality care available. Our Fort Collins dentists don’t expect you to be experts on teeth – that’s our job! Our goal is to inform our patients on all options to make the best possible decision about their teeth. Whether you need a general teeth cleaning, dentures, implants, orthodontics, or other dental services, our friendly staff is on hand and ready to help you create a beautiful smile! Contact us to learn more!