Cancellous bone directly surrounding the tooth roots.
Alveolar crest The ridge of bone between two adjacent teeth or between the
roots of a tooth.
Alveolar mucosa Less densely keratinized gingival tissue covering the bone.
Alveolus The cavity or socket in either jaw bone that surrounds and supports
the root of the tooth.
Anterior teeth The canine and incisor teeth.
Apex Terminal portion of the root.
Apical delta The diverging branches of the root canal at the apical end of
the tooth root.
Apical foramen The opening(s) in the apex of the root through which nerves
and vessels pass into the root canal.
Attached gingiva The gingiva that extends from the free gingival groove to
the mucogingival line.
Attachment apparatus The periodontal ligament, cementum, and alveolar bone
that hold the tooth in place.
Canine tooth - Large, single-root tooth designed for tearing and
Carnassial tooth - Shearing tooth. Upper P4 and lower M1 in the dog and
Cementoenamel junction - Found at the neck of the tooth where the enamel
and the cementum meet.
Cementum - Bony layer covering the root surface.
Cingulum - The cervical third of the palatal surface of the anterior
Crown - The portion of the tooth covered with enamel.
Deciduous teeth - Teeth of the primary dentition ("baby
Dental arch - Formed by the curve of the crowns of the teeth in their
normal position or by the residual ridge if the teeth are missing.
Dental Quadrant - Half of each dental arch when divided at the midline.
Dentin - The main component of the tooth. It consists of multiple tubules
that extend from the pulp to its outer surface. The tubules contain sensory nerve fibers
that register various degrees of pain. Harder than bone, dentin is covered by enamel on
the crown and by cementum on the root.
Diastema - The space between two adjacent teeth that are not in contact
with each other in an arch.
Enamel - The hard, shiny outer layer of the crown composed of
hydroxyapatite crystalline components.
Epithelial attachment - Tissue attaching the gingiva to the tooth.
Free gingiva - Portion of the gingiva not directly attached to the
tooth that forms the gingival wall of the sulcus.
Free gingival groove - On the surface of the gingiva a slight concavity
or line separating free from attached gingiva.
Free gingival margin - The free edge of the gingiva on the tooth surface.
Furcation - The space between tooth roots where they join the crown.
Gingiva - Soft tissue surrounding the teeth.
Gingival sulcus - The normal space created by the free gingiva and the
Gnathic - Referring to the jaw.
Halitosis - Foul, offensive, or unpleasant breath.
Incisal edge - The cutting edge of the incisors.
Incisor - Small anterior tooth with a single root.
Infrabony pocket - A periodontal pocket in the alveolar bone.
Interdental - The area between the proximal surfaces of adjacent teeth in
the same arch.
Interproximal - Between adjoining surfaces of teeth in the same arch.
Interradicular - Between roots of multirooted teeth.
Juga - The depressions between the ridges of bone formed by roots in
the alveolar process on the mandible or the premaxilla and maxilla.
Lamina dura - The dense cortical bone forming the wall of the alveolus
next to the tooth. It appears on a radiograph as a white line next to the dark line of the
Lateral or accessory canal - Small canal leading from the root canal to
the outer surface of the root.
Line angle - The imaginary intersection of two tooth walls.
Mental foramen - Openings in the mandible through which nerves and
Molar - Large, multicusp teeth designed for grinding. Upper (two) molars
have three roots and lower (three) molars have two roots in dogs.
Mucogingival line - Definite line of demarcation where the attached
gingiva and alveolar mucosa meet.
Neck (cervical line) - The junction of the crown and root.
Odontoblast - The cells in the pulp that produce dentin.
Palate - The structure that separates the oral and nasal cavities.
Periodontal ligament - A network of fibers connecting the tooth to the
Periodontium - The supporting structures of the teeth including the
periodontal ligament, gingiva, cementum, and alveolar and supporting bone.
Posterior teeth - The premolar and molar teeth.
Premolar - The teeth distal to the canine and mesial to the molars with
one to three roots.
Primary teeth - The first teeth to erupt; they are replaced by adult
Proximal - The surface of a tooth that is adjacent to another tooth.
Pulp - Soft tissue component of the tooth consisting of blood and
lymphatic vessels, nerve tissue, and loose connective tissue.
Pulp chamber - Portion of the crown containing the pulp.
Radicular - Pertaining to the root.
Root - The portion of the tooth normally covered by cementum.
Root canal - Portion of the root containing the pulp.
Ruga palatina - The irregular ridge in the mucous membrane covering the
anterior part of the hard palate.
Apical - Towards the apex.
Buccal - Surface of the tooth nearest the cheek (posterior teeth).
Coronal - Towards the crown.
Distal - Away from the midline in the dental arches.
Facial - Surface of the tooth nearest the face. Buccal and labial are
Incisal - Biting surface of anterior teeth.
Interproximal - Between adjoining surfaces of the teeth.
Labial - Surface of the tooth nearest the lips (anterior teeth).
Line angle - Imaginary line formed by the junction of two adjacent
surfaces/walls of a tooth.
Lingual - Surface of the tooth nearest the tongue.
Maxilla - The bone that forms most of the upper jaw.
Mesial - Toward the midline of the dental arch.
Occlusal - The chewing surfaces of the caudal teeth.
Palatal - Surface of the tooth towards the hard palate.
Sublingual - The structures and surfaces beneath the tongue.
- The diagnosis and treatment of diseases inside the tooth that affect the tooth pulp and
apical periodontal tissues.
Exodontics - Branch of dentistry that deals with extraction of teeth.
Oral Surgery - Pertaining to surgery of the oral cavity.
Orthodontics - Branch of dentistry that deals with the prevention and
correction of irregularities of the teeth and malocclusion.
Periodontics - Branch of dentistry dealing with the study and
treatment of periodontal diseases.
Prosthodontics - Branch of dentistry that deals with the construction of
appliances designed to replace missing teeth and/or other oral structures.
Restorative/operative dentistry - Branch of dentistry dealing with
restoring the form and function of teeth.
Abrasion - The wearing away of teeth due to abnormal contact with
structures other than teeth.
Acquired Pellicle - The thin film composed mostly of protein that forms
on the surface of teeth. It forms with or without bacteria and can be removed by abrasive
Anodontia - The absence of teeth.
Anterior crossbite - An orthodontic condition in which canine, premolar,
and molar occlusion is normal but one or more mandibular incisors are anterior to the
Attrition - The wearing away of teeth by tooth-against-tooth contact
Avulsion - The separation of the tooth from its alveolus.
Brachygnathia - The lower jaw is markedly shorter than the upper jaw.
Calculus - Hard, mineralized plaque on the tooth surface.
Caries - A demineralization and loss of tooth structure due to action of
microorganisms on carbohydrates.
Edentulous - Without teeth.
Embedded tooth - A tooth that has not erupted into the oral cavity and is
not likely to erupt.
Erosion - Loss of tooth structure by chemical means not involving
Facet - A flattened or worn spot on the surface of a tooth.
Freeway space - The space between the opposing mandibular and maxillary
premolar cusps when the mouth is closed.
Fused teeth - The joining of two teeth in development where they have
developed from different tooth buds.
Gemini tooth - The partial division of a tooth bud attempting to form
Gingival hyperplasia - A pathological increase in the amount of normal
gingival tissue in a normal arrangement.
Horizontal bone loss - Loss of crestal alveolar bone along an arch
secondary to periodontal disease.
Impacted tooth - An unerupted or partially erupted tooth that is
prevented from erupting further by any structure.
Level bite - Occlusion where the upper and lower incisors meet incisal
edge to incisal edge.
Luxation - The displacement or partial displacement of a tooth from its
Odontalgia - Pain in a tooth.
Oligodontia - Reduced number of teeth.
Open bite - The failure of the upper and lower incisors to contact each
other when the mouth is closed.
Oronasal fistula - An abnormal opening between the oral and nasal cavity.
Overbite - Layman's term for the upper jaw overlapping the lower jaw.
Periapical abscess (or apical abscess) - An abscess at the apex of the
root, involving the pulp and surrounding apical tissues.
Periodontal abscess - An abscess involving the periodontium.
Periodontal pocket - Pathologic increase in the depth of the gingival
sulcus with loss of epithelial and periodontal ligament attachments.
Plaque - A thin film covering the teeth, composed of bacteria, salvia,
food particles, and sloughed epithelial cells.
Posterior cross bite - An abnormal occlusion where one or more mandibular
premolars or molars occlude buccal to their occlusal partner.
Pulpitis - Inflammation of the pulp.
Pyorrhea - A discharge of pus from the periodontium.
Resorption - The loss of substance by a physiologic or pathologic
Reverse scissor bite - Occlusion where all the lower incisors occlude
anterior to the upper incisors.
Root fenestration - A window-like opening of bone and gingiva over the
Stomatitis - Inflammation of the soft tissues of the mouth.
Supernumerary teeth - Teeth in excess of the normal number.
Vertical bone loss - Bone loss at an acute angle to the root surface,
forming an infrabony pocket.
Wry bite - A malocclusion in which the midline of the lower jaw does
not oppose the midline of the upper jaw.
Abutment - A tooth or implant that is used for the support or
anchorage of a prosthesis or appliance.
Anchorage - Used orthodontically, it is the resistance to unwanted tooth
Bite impression - Used to align casts to the occlusion of the patient.
Cast - A replication of the teeth and tissues made from an impression.
Crown or Cap - A cast metal covering of the crown of the tooth.
Impression - A negative replication of the teeth and tissues used to
make a cast.
Orthodontic appliance - A device used to apply force to the teeth for
tooth movement or to maintain tooth position.
Prosthesis - An artificial part that replaces part of the body.
Splint - An apparatus designed to prevent motion or displacement.
1. Cohen S, Burns RC. Pathways of the Pulp. St Louis: C.V. Mosby Co., 1984:302.
2. Rateitschak KH, et al. Periodontology. Stu Hgart: George Thieme Medical Publishers,