Names of Teeth

Central The two upper and two lower teeth in the very center of your mouth.
Lateral The teeth just adjacent to the centrals.
Cuspid The pointy teeth just behind the laterals. These teeth have one cuspal (or point). Cuspids are also called canines.
First Bicuspid The teeth just behind the cuspids. These teeth have two cuspals (or points)
Second Bicuspid The teeth just behind the first bicuspids. These teeth also have two cuspals (or points).
First Molar The teeth just behind the second bicuspids. These teeth have a level surface with four cuspals.
Second Molar The teeth just behind the first. These teeth also have a level surface with four cuspals.
Third Molar The teeth just behind the second molars. These teeth also have a level surface with four cuspals.
Incisor Another name for the centrals and laterals
Canine Another name for the cuspids
6 year molar Another name for your first molar
12 year molar Another name for your second molar
Wisdom Tooth Another name for the third molar
Anterior Teeth Your centrals, laterals, and cuspids. These are the teeth in the front of your mouth
Posterior Teeth Your bicuspids and molars. These are the teeth in the back of your mouth.
Deciduous Teeth Your primary, or “baby teeth”
Primary teeth The first set of teeth which come in. Primary teeth are also called “baby teeth” or deciduous teeth.
Secondary Teeth Your permanent teeth, i.e. the second group of teeth to come in.
Quadrants The four parts of your mouth, that is the upper left, the upper right, the lower left, and the lower right.
Numerical notation for teeth The numerical notation for teeth is an alternate to Palmer’s notation. In this notation, the centrals are designated as 1’s, the laterals as 2’s, the cuspids as 3’s, the first bicuspids as 4’s, the second bicuspid’s as 5’s, etc.
Universal numerical notation for teeth The universal numerical notation is an alternative numerical notation for teeth. In this notation, your upper right third molar is designated as tooth#1, and then you number each tooth sequentially moving right to left and down across your mouth.

Parts Of A Tooth And Your Mouth

Alveolus A opening in your jaw-bone in which a tooth is attached.
Apex The very bottom of the root of your tooth
Buccal The tooth surface which is next to your cheeks. Usually only posterior teeth touch your cheeks, so people usually use the term “buccal” only when talking about your back teeth.
Cementum A bony substance covering the root of a tooth.
Crown The part of your tooth above your gum.
Cuspal The chewing or tearing points of the cuspids, bicuspids, and molars.
Dentin The calcium part of a tooth below the enamel containing the pulp chamber and root canals.
Enamel A hard ceramic which covers the exposed part of your teeth.
Frenum Small pieces of pink colored skin that attach your lips, cheeks and tongue to your mouth. Examples include the piece of skin under your tongue which sticks out when you pick up your tongue, and the piece of skin which sticks out when you pull out your lips.
Gingivae Another name for your gums
Gums The pink areas around your teeth
Pulp The soft inner structure of a tooth, consisting of nerve and blood vessels
Pulp Chamber The very inner part of your tooth containing nerve cells and blood vessels.
Pulp canal Another name for the pulp chamber
Root The part of your tooth in your gums

Dental Terms

Abutment The teeth on either side of a missing tooth.
Amalgam A silver/mercury mixture which is used for fillings.
Anatomy The arrangement of the bones in your skeleton
Antiseptic A chemical agent which can be applied to living tissues to destroy germs.
Anesthetic A drug which a doctor or dentist uses to put you, your mouth, or some other part of your body asleep so you do not feel any pain during dental or medical procedures.
Anterior An adjective used to describe things pertaining to your Centrals, laterals and cuspids (your front teeth).
Arch Collectively, either the teeth or the basal bone of either jaw.
Articulator A special holder for models of your teeth. The articulator holds the models in the same alignment as your jaw so the orthodontist can look carefully at your bite.
Asepsis The avoidance of potentially pathogenic microorganism. In practice, it refers to those techniques which aims to exclude all microorganisms.
Aspirator A tube like a straw which the dentist puts in your mouth to suck up all the saliva.
Aspiration Removal of fluids from your mouth with an aspirator.
Bruxism Clenching or grinding of your teeth especially at night.
Calculus A hard deposit that forms when you do not brush your teeth so the plaque hardens. Calculus is also known as tartar.
Caries Another name for a cavities (tooth decay)
Cavity A small hole in one of your teeth caused by tooth decay.
Cross contamination Passing bacteria, viruses or AIDS indirectly from one patient to another through the use of improper sterilization procedures, unclean instruments, or “recycling” of orthodontic products.
Crown 1) An artificial tooth, 2) an artificial replacement for the covering on a tooth.
Curettage A periodontal procedure where your gums are scraped to remove bacteria.
Decalcification The loss of calcium from your teeth. This weakens your teeth and makes them more susceptible to decay.
Denture A synthetic replacement for all of your teeth in either your upper or your lower jaw.
Diagnosis the process of identifying the nature of a disorder.
Direct contamination Direct contact with impurities or germs. (for example by a Patient sneezing on the assistant.)
Disinfection A cleaning process which destroys of most microorganism, but not highly resistant forms such as bacterial and mycotic spores or the AIDS virus.
Disinfectant A chemical agent which is applied onto inanimate surfaces, for example chairs, to destroy germs.
Disposable materials Materials intended for one use and discarded. (e.g.: Gloves, paper gowns, cotton rolls, sponges, etc.)
Distal Behind towards the back of the mouth. For example you might say that the first bicuspid is distal to the cuspid.
Edentulous Someone is said to be edentulous when all of their teeth are missing from either their upper or lower jaw.
Endodontist (Endo) A dentist who specializes in root canals and the treatment of diseases or injuries that affect the root tips or nerves in your teeth.
Eruption When a new tooth comes in, the tooth is said to erupt when the tooth breaks through the surface of your gums, so you can see the tooth in your mouth.
Exfoliate To fall out. (Your Deciduous teeth exfoliate and permanent teeth erupt into the space.)
Extraoral Outside of your mouth. For example, neck pads are said to be extra oral products since they go outside of your mouth.
Filtrum The dimple or indentation under the nose directly above the upper lip.
Fluoride A chemical solution or gel which you put on your teeth. The fluoride hardens your teeth and prevents tooth decay.
Gingival hypertrophy The abnormal enlargement of the gingiva surrounding the teeth caused by poor oral hygiene.
Gingivitis The inflammation of your gums caused by improper brushing. The first sign of periodontal (gum) disease.
Impacted tooth An unerupted tooth that somehow has gotten stuck and cannot come in.
Implant A replacement for one of your missing teeth. The implant is different than a bridge in that the implant is permanently attached into your jaw.
Incisal The biting edge of your centrals and laterals.
Interproximal The space between adjacent teeth
Intraoral Inside your mouth. For example, orthodontic rubber bands are called intraoral products since the rubber bands are designed to go in your mouth.
Irrigation The technique of using a solution to wash out your mouth and to flush debris.
Labial The tooth surface next to your lips or things mounted on the tooth surfaces next to your lips.
Lingual The tooth surface next to your tongue or things mounted on the tooth surfaces next to your tongue.
Mandible Your lower jaw
Mandibular Pertaining to your lower jaw
Masticate To chew your food and mix the food with saliva
Maxilla Your upper jaw
Maxillary Pertaining to your upper jaw
Mesial Forward or front. For example your cuspid is mesial to you bicuspid. The mesial surface of your bicuspid is the part of the bicuspid closest to your cuspid.
Midline A plane through the very center of your mouth perpendicular to your nose.
Mixed dentition The situation when both deciduous and permanent teeth are present.
Occlusal The chewing or grinding surface of the bicuspid and molar teeth.
Occlusal plane The imaginary surface on which upper and lower teeth meet.
Occlusal radiograph The only x-ray that is taken without a precision(tm) x-ray holder. The x-ray film for this procedure is shaped like a large oatmeal cookie. You are asked to bite on the x-ray film and the top of the x-ray machine is positioned over your nose for a maxillary occlusal x-ray or under your chin for a mandibular occlusal film. The x- ray shows the whole arch.
Oral Pertaining to the mouth.
Osteoblasts Cells which aid the growth and development of teeth and bones.
Osteoclasts Cells which help create the sockets in bones. For example osteoclasps create the openings in your jaw bone to hold your teeth.
Pathogens Disease producing organisms that can exist in many different places. (e.g.: Air, dust, counter top surfaces, the body, etc.)
Pathology The study of abnormal (diseased) tissue conditions.
Pedodontist (Pedo) A dentist who specializes in the treatment of children’s teeth.
Periapical x-ray of individual teeth or groups of teeth.
Periodontist (Perio) A dentist who specializes in the treatment of diseases of your gums.
Plaque Colorless, odorless, sticky substance containing acids and bacteria that causes tooth decay.
Periodontal Pertaining to your gums. For example periodontal disease is gum disease.
Periodontist A dentist who specializes in the treatment of gum disease.
Posterior An adjective used to describe things pertaining to the back of your mouth or your back teeth.
Prophylaxis Cleaning your teeth
Prosthodontist A dentist who specializes in the replacement of missing teeth.
Proximal Refers to the surfaces of teeth that touch the next tooth; the space between adjacent teeth is the interproximal space.
Radiograph Another name for an x-ray
Root canal A procedure where the nerve of a heavily decayed tooth is removed from the tooth replaced with a filling material
Sagittal plane The longitudinal vertical plane that divides the mouth into two halves (left and right.)
Sanitization A cleaning process which reduces germs to a “safe” level.
Space maintainer A gadget used to maintain a space in your mouth. You would use a space maintainer when you lose one of your baby teeth. The space maintainer will keep a space in your mouth until a permanent tooth comes in to fill the space.
Sterilization A process where a medical material is treated to remove all possible germs and other forms of life
Supernumerary teeth Some people have extra teeth. These are called “supernumerary teeth”.
Tartar Another name for calculus
TMJ An abbreviation for the “temporomandibular joint” The “temporomandibular joint” is the joint where your lower jaw connects to your skull.
Treatment card Sheet of paper or special index card used to record your treatment progress.