Six Tooth Terms to Teach Your Family

Here at Smiles Dental in Spokane, Washington, our goal is to assist you and your family members by helping you learn to protect your smiles through maintaining good oral health. Below are six important terms that you can teach your family about:

1. Abscess — A tooth abscess is a pocket of pus that is the result of a bacterial infection. This condition requires antibiotics, because it will continue to damage the tooth as long as it’s not being treated. If this infection gets into your bloodstream, then you’ll have additional health concerns beyond your oral health.

2. Calculus — No, it’s not that hard math subject, but it is hardened plaque. Calculus is also known as “tartar.” The mouth is filled with bacteria that form plaque on your teeth. The purpose of brushing and flossing is to get rid of this plaque, but if it isn’t removed, the plaque soon hardens and forms calculus, which cannot be removed by brushing. Only your dental office can safely and effectively remove calculus through professional cleaning.

3. Dental Implant — A cylindrical or tapered post, typically made of titanium, which substitutes as the root of the tooth. An abutment is built into (or placed on top of) the post, and it connects the implant to the replacement tooth. Finally, the replacement tooth or crown is custom-made to match the appearance of natural teeth.

4. Periodontal Disease — An infection of the tissues that surround and support your teeth. If your gums bleed easily or they are red, swollen, or tender, then you may have periodontal disease (also known as gum disease).

5. Sealant — A thin, plastic material that is painted onto the chewing surfaces of the molars (back teeth). Sealants provide a protective coating that helps to preserve tooth enamel and prevent tooth decay.

6. Tooth Enamel — The hard, calcified tissue that covers the dentin of the crown of the tooth and protects it from tooth decay.