Dental Associates of Northern Virginia in Skyline
5113 Leesburg Pike, Skyline Building 4, Suite 811, Falls Church, VA 22041

Glossary of Dental Terms

A

Amalgam – Material made from mercury and other alloy mixtures used to restore a drilled portion of a tooth.
Anesthesia – Medications used to relieve pain.
Anterior teeth – Front teeth. Also called incisors and cuspids.
Arch – The upper or lower jaw.

B

Baby bottle tooth decay – Caused by sugary substances in breast milk and some juices, which combine with saliva to form pools inside the baby?s mouth.
Bicuspids – Back teeth used for chewing.
Bitewings – X-rays that help a dentist diagnose cavities.
Bonding – Application of tooth-colored resin materials to the surface of the teeth.
Bridge – A fixed or removable appliance that replaces lost teeth.
Bruxism – Teeth grinding.

C

Calculus – A sticky substance (also called tartar) that has hardened.
Canal – The narrow chamber inside the tooth?s root.
Canines – Also called cuspids.
Canker sore – One that occurs on the delicate tissues inside your mouth. A canker sore is usually light-colored at its base and can have a red exterior border.
Caries – Another term for decay, which causes cavities.
Cold sore – Usually occurs on the outside of the mouth, usually on or near the nose or lips. A cold sore is contagious because it is caused by the herpes simplex virus, and it is usually painful and filled with fluid.
Composite filling – Tooth colored restorations, also known as resin fillings.
Composite resin – A tooth-colored resin combined with silica or porcelain and used as a restoration material.
Contouring – The process of reshaping teeth.
Crown – An artificial cover that is placed on the top of a tooth following restoration.
Cusps – The pointed parts on top of the back teeth?s chewing surface.
Cuspids – Front teeth that typically have a protruding edge.

D

Dentin – The tooth layer underneath the enamel.
Denture – A removable set of teeth.

E

Endodontics – A form of dentistry that addresses problems affecting the tooth?s root or nerve.

F

Fluoride – A naturally occurring substance added to water, toothpastes and some rinses and used for strengthening the tooth?s enamel.
Fluorosis – A harmless over-exposure to fluoride and resulting sometimes in tooth discoloration.

G

Gingiva – Another word for gum tissue.
Gingivitis – A minor disease of the gums caused by plaque.
Gum disease – An infection of the gum tissues. Also called periodontal disease.

I

Impacted teeth – A condition in which a tooth fails to erupt or only partially erupts.
Implant – A permanent appliance used to replace a missing tooth.
Incisor – Front teeth with cutting edges; located in the center or on the sides near the front.
Inlay – An artificial filling made of various materials, including porcelain, resin, or gold.

L

Laminate veneer – A shell that is bonded to the enamel of a front tooth. The shell is usually thin and made from porcelain resin.
Laser – Light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation. A single wavelength beam of highly concentrated energy.

M

Malocclusion – Bad bite relationship.
Mandible – The lower jaw.
Maxilla – The upper jaw.
Molar – Usually the largest teeth, near the rear of the mouth. Molars have large chewing surfaces.

N

Neuromuscular Dentistry – are more than the aches and pains felt in around the neck and head that are associated with your teeth and jaw.

O

Onlay – A filling designed to protect the chewing surface of a tooth.
Orthodontics – A field of dentistry that deals with tooth and jaw alignment.
Overdenture – A non-fixed dental appliance applied to a small number of natural teeth or implants.

P

Palate – Roof of the mouth.
Partial denture – A removable appliance that replaces teeth. Also called a bridge.
Pedodontics – A field of dentistry that deals with children?s teeth.
Perio pocket – An opening formed by receding gums.
Periodontal disease – Infection of the gum tissues. Also called gum disease.
Periodontist – A dentist who treats diseases of the gums.
Permanent teeth – The teeth that erupt after primary teeth. Also called adult teeth.
Plaque – A sticky, colorless substance that covers the teeth after sleep or periods between brushing.
Posterior teeth – The bicuspids and molars. Also called the back teeth.
Primary teeth – A person?s first set of teeth. Also called baby teeth or temporary teeth.
Prophylaxis – The act of cleaning the teeth.
Prosthodontics – The field of dentistry that deals with artificial dental appliances.
Pulp – The inner tissues of the tooth containing blood, nerves and connective tissue.

R

Receding gum – A condition in which the gums separate from the tooth, allowing bacteria and other substances to attack the tooth?s enamel and surrounding bone.
Resin filling – An artificial filling used to restore teeth. Also called a composite filling.
Root canal – A procedure in which a tooth?s nerve is removed and an inner canal cleansed and later filled.
Root planing – Scraping or cleansing of teeth to remove heavy buildup of tartar below the gum line.

S

Sealant – A synthetic material placed on the tooth?s surface that protects the enamel and chewing surfaces.

T

TMJ – Temporomandibular joint disorder. Health problems related to the jaw joint just in front of the ear.
Tarter – A hardened substance (also called calculus) that sticks to the tooth?s surface.

V

Veneer – A laminate applied or bonded to the tooth.

W

Whitening – A process that employs special bleaching agents for restoring the color of teeth.
Wisdom tooth – Third set of molars that erupt last in adolescence.

Read What Our Patients Say
Patient Reviews
I have been a patient of Dr. Fishman for years. He is wonderful. He/the office works with your insurance in order to get the best price. He also does not push procedures, he discusses them with his […]
Karen (.
Miranda was fantastic. Friendly, gentle, informative, and showed a sense of urgency that is refreshing! Dr Rotter was friendly and warm as well. Very positive experience.
Tracey S.
Staff provided friendly, courteous, and professional service. I felt completely safe.
Darlene G.
Dr Butts is the best dentist in the world and I am not exaggerating. He is always professional, caring, communicative and kind. He keeps up on the latest thinking on dental procedures so you know you […]
Karen S.
No waiting; experienced staff.
Linda G.
Everyone at Dental Associates is courteous, helpful and efficient. Six of my family members see Dr. Butts and he is fantastic! He is an excellent dentist, but what sets him apart is his ability to […]
L. G.
Thank you as always for the great service. The staff is friendly, well knowledgeable and very nice. Thank you all!!
Elvis X.
Dr.Lebonitte and Dr.Choudhary are great they brought my smile back
Bjonda H.
Dr Pryor is a fantastic orthodontist. My teeth look amazing after braces. He is professional and does great work. My kids will come out of their in the next couple of months but we can already tell […]
Joan (.
I have been a patient here for almost two years now, and the experience has just been superb. The appointments are easy and the staff is very friendly.
Todd S.
I find Dr. Fishman to be a very competent dentist, and I appreciate that he tries to be conservative with treatments and procedures, rather than diving in to the most invasive (and often, costly) […]
Jessica P.
Dr. Lebonitte and the team at Dental Associates are the best. I am always seen right away. His hygienists are good, and make my cleaning a breeze. I no longer dread going to the dentist. I also did […]
Lauren G.
On time, courteous, painless, old friends.
Stephen E.
Great Work
Paul N.
Super staff! Extremely accommodating and eager to help. Dr. Leinet is terrific. Explains options clearly and made a terrific referral. I’ve been with a downtown dentist for 10 years. I’ve […]
Anonymous
Dr. Edward Fishman has been my dentist for over thirty years. This is due to the long standing comfort and professional confidence that I have in Dr. Fishman and his team. Dr. Fishman is more than a […]
Linda W.
Great people and excellent dental care.
Shirley Y.
I, and my family have been going to Dental Associates of Northern Virginia for more than 20 years. We enjoy the friendly service and couldn’t be more pleased with the excellent workmanship.
Lynn R.
If you are looking for a periodontist, Dr. Choudary is a great one. He explains everything and gets things done very quickly. My general dentist is Dr. Lebonitte who also is very patient and explains […]
Nancy T.
I have entrusted my dental work to Dr. David Butts for 38 years and he consistently does great work.
Helen H.
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Mon. – 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Tue. – 7:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Wed. – 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Thu. – 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Fri. – 7:00 AM - 2:00 PM
Phone: (703) 935-2878
Fax: (703) 671-1081
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  • Tuesday 7:00 AM - 5:00 PM
  • Wednesday 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
  • Thursday 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
  • Friday 7:00 AM - 2:00 PM
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