ACID: Any of a class of compounds that share certain basic chemical characteristics. Acids have low pH, are usually sour to taste and can be corrosive in their pure form.  They can be organic or inorganic.

ALKALINITY: A substance having the pH greater than 7. Various bases, hydroxide metals. Combined with acids form salts.

AMALGAM: An alloy of mercury with other metals.  Typically, amalgam fillings has about 50% mercury and the remainder can be silver, copper, zinc and tin.

BIOCOMPATIBILITY TESTING: A test that qualifies the degree of sensitivity of particular substances/chemicals to the blood serum.

BRIDGES: Permanent restoration that utilizes adjacent “anchor” teeth to suspend a “fake” tooth where a tooth is missing.

CHELATION THREAPY: The introduction of certain substances into the body so that they will attach and then remove foreign substances such as lead, cadmium, arsenic, mercury and other heavy metals.

COMPOSITE: A synthetic resin used in dentistry as a restorative material or adhesive. Composites can be bonded to the dental enamel or dentin.

CROWN (CAP): A restoration that offers full coverage to a tooth so that the remaining tooth has protection. Often, teeth that had root canal treatment need crowns.

DENTIN: The layer of tooth between the enamel and the nerve chamber.

DENTURE: Removable prosthetic device that is used to replace all or some missing teeth.

DIAMOND CROWN, LITE, FLOW: A composite material that has a high biocompatibility ratio and is non cytotoxic.

DIGITAL RADIOGRAPY: A form of capturing images where a sensor is used instead of conventional xray film. The sensor sends the image in digital form to a screen for reviewing. The units of radistion to do this is far less than film and the timing to get results is far quicker than film.

ENAMEL: The outer covering of the anatomical crown of a tooth.

EXTRACTION: The removal of a tooth

FACING: See veneer

HALITOSIS: A condition where one’s breath is affected by the oral anaerobic bacteria producing sulfuric acid.

HEAVY METAL: A metallic element whose specific gravity is greater than 5.0. Many heavy metals are extremely toxic.

HERBAL THERAPY: The use of herbal combinations for healing or cleansing purposes. Herbs can be used in a tablet, capsule, tincture or extract form, as well as in baths and poultices.

HOLISTIC: Characterized by the understanding of the parts of something as intimately interconnected and being primarily part of a whole. So in dentistry, the treatment of the mouth (from physical as well as emotional and social factors) explicitly affects the whole. Likewise, treating aspects of the mouth (tissue, bite, mucosa..) greatly affects the oral condition in total.

HOMEOPATHY: A medical system based on the belief that “likes cures likes”-that is, the illness can be cured by taking a very diluted dose of the substance that, if taken by a healthy person would produce symptoms like those being treated. Homeopathy uses energy to stimulate the natural powers to bring the body back into balance.

IMMUNE SYSTEM: A complex system of the body that depends on many different organs, cells and proteins. Its chief function is to identify and eliminate foreign substances from the body.

IMPLANTS: A duplicate of the root usually made of titanium that is used as the support for a crown to replace a missing tooth (or teeth).

INFECTION: Invasion of body tissue by disease causing organism. (ie viruses, bacteria, protozoas..)

INFLAMMATION: A reaction to illness or injury characterized by swelling, heat, redness, sensitivity and bleeding.

INVISALIGN: A method of moving teeth to align them without the use of orthodontic wires and brackets. Transparent plastic trays that are meant to be replaced at regular intervals allow for a more esthetic look than conventional brackets.

INTRA-ORAL CAMERA: A camera that is shaped like a wand that can photograph magnified images of {your teeth}.

KINESIOLOGY: The study of muscle strength testing as a tool for medical diagnosis.

LAMINATE: See veneer

MINERAL: An inorganic substance required by the body in small quantities.

NATUROPATHY: A form of health care that uses diet, herbs and other natural methods and substances to cure diseases.

NITROUS OXIDE: (aka. laughing gas)  A colorless gas with a sweetish odor, prepared by heating ammonium nitrate. It produces exhilaration and anaesthesia when inhaled.

OCCLUSION: The contact between teeth; it more implicitly refers to the relationship of the upper teeth to the lower teeth.

ONLAY: A restoration that provides the protection of a crown but preserves tooth structure where able. It is a cross between a filling and a crown and is made of a hard material.

PERIODONTAL: Refers to the tissue that support teeth including the gums, ligaments and alveolar bone.

PH: Potential of Hydrogen. A scale used to measure the relative acidity or alkalinity of substances.

PLAQUE: An unwanted deposit of a certain substance on tissues often with the potential to cause health  problems. The build up of plaque on teeth can lead to gum disease.

PORCELAIN: A white, vitrified translucent ceramic.

POST-OP: The period immediately following a clinical procedure.

PROSTHETIC DENTISTRY: The rehabilitation and maintenance of the oral function,  comfort, appearance and health due to decayed and/or missing teeth.

SKIN TESTING: A test where an “allergen” is placed on or under the skin to observe the body’s reaction to that substance.

TEMPORAL MANDIBULAR JOINT: (TMJ) The “joint” of the jaw. There are two of them on either side of the head. The unique characteristic of this joint is that between the two bones lies a cartilaginous disc.

TOXICITY: The quality of being poisonous. Toxic reactions in the body impair function and/or damage cells.

VENEER: A restoration that covers only the face of the tooth. It is often used for esthetics or simulating orthodontic treatment.

ZIRCONIUM: A translucent ceramic substrate that can be used for crowns and onlays. It is very strong and very biocompatible.