Glossary Terms for Plain Language Summaries

a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z

a
 
acetaminophen (pronounced uh-see-tuh-min-o-fen) This medicine relieves pain. You can buy this without getting a prescription from your doctor. Anacin and Tylenol are examples of acetaminophen.
acute An illness that comes on suddenly, lasts a short time and may require immediate treatment.
adult-onset diabetes A health condition that develops in adults in which they are unable to control the level of sugar in the blood.
aesthetic (also spelled "esthetic") Having to do with appearance and beauty, like a smile.
aesthetic zone (also spelled "esthetic zone") The area showing your teeth and gums when you smile.
antibiotic prophylaxis This is the use of antibiotics before exposure to bacteria to prevent an infection.
antibiotics Medicines that kill those bacteria that can make you sick. Amoxicillin is an antibiotic.
anticoagulant medications Medicines that are used to keep blood clots from forming in the blood. They are taken to reduce the risk of a stroke or heart attack.
antiviral medications Antiviral medications are medicines used to fight viruses, which can make you sick
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b
 
bacterial endocarditis A serious, but rare, infection involving the heart.
Bell palsy (Sometimes called Bell's palsy) A health problem that causes weakness or paralysis of the face, usually on one side only. We do not know what causes it.
bisphosphonate (pronounced bis-faws-fo-nate) A medicine that strengthens bones.
bone augmentation building up the bone around dental implants (artificial tooth roots)
bone loss A decrease in the amount of bone that supports a tooth or implant.
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c
 
calculus A hard deposit that forms on your teeth if plaque is not removed
cantilever bridge This is a fixed dental bridge that attaches to at least one natural tooth or implant on one side of an area missing teeth rather than attaching to both sides of the filled space.
cetylpyridinium chloride (pronounced see-tul-pur-ri-din-ee-um clor-ide) An ingredient used in some oral care products, like mouthrinses, that fights bacteria. It can be written "CPC."
chlorhexidine (pronounced clor-hex-i-deen) An ingredient used in some oral care products, like mouthrinses or varnish, that fights bacteria.
codeine (pronounced ko-deen) This medicine relieves pain. In the United States, you need a prescription from a doctor to buy codeine. It can have many side effects, including sleepiness, dizziness, breathing problems, and physical or mental dependence.
Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) is a common approach to controlling sleep apnea. It is a breathing treatment that uses mild air pressure to keep a person’s airways open. It typically involves use of a bedside machine and a mask, worn during sleep, which covers the nose.
coronary heart disease In this disease, the blood vessels around the heart do not deliver oxygen to the heart muscle.
corticosteroids (pronounced core-ti-ko-stare-oydz) These medicines control swelling. They are also called "steroids."
crown A crown is a single, artificial tooth that fits over a real tooth that has been specially shaped. It can also fit over a dental implant.
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d
 
deciduous teeth (pronounced di-sid-you-us) These are the first teeth a child gets. They are also called "primary teeth" or "baby teeth."
dental arch The dental arch is the way your teeth are lined up in a curved shape inside your mouth.
dental bridge This is an appliance that fills the space left by missing teeth with artificial ones, held in place by attaching to natural teeth or implants. It can be removable or fixed in place.
dental erosion Dental erosion is the thinning or wearing away of the hard coating of a tooth (the enamel).
dentures Dentures are a set of artificial teeth. They can replace all of one's teeth (complete dentures) or a section of teeth (partial dentures).
dermatitis An irritation of the skin that often shows up as a red, itchy rash.
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e
 
esthetic (also spelled "aesthetic") Having to do with appearance and beauty, like a smile.
esthetic zone (also spelled "aesthetic zone") The area showing your teeth and gums when you smile.
extract Extract means to pull or remove a tooth.
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f
 
first molars These are the molars (big teeth that you chew with) that are closest to the front of your mouth.
Fixed Partial Denture A dental appliance with one or more artificial teeth mounted on a support that fits over the gums. The appliance fills the space left when some teeth are missing. It is not meant to be removed; it is attached permanently to the teeth on either side of the appliance.
flare-up pain pain that occurs after treatment that affects the patient so severely he or she needs to see the dentist for additional treatment.
fluoride (pronounced floor-ide) This mineral can help prevent tooth decay (cavities).
fluoride varnish a liquid, containing fluoride, that is painted onto the teeth and hardens.
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g
 
gastroesophageal reflux disease (pronounced gas-tro-ee-sof-uh-jee-ul ree-flux duh-zeez) This is an illness where the food and acid in your stomach come back up into the tube that connects your mouth and your stomach. It is also called "GERD."
gingival (pronounced jin-juh-vul) Things having to do with your gums.
gingival abrasion Damage to the surface of the gum tissue.
gingival recession A condition in which the gums move back away from the crown of the tooth (the portion that you see)and exposes the tooth roots.
gingivitis (pronounced jin-juh-v-eye-tis) An early stage of gum disease that can cause swelling and/or bleeding of the gums.
glycemic control (pronounced gl-eye-see-mic control) This term is used when someone keeps the amount of sugar in their blood at a healthy level.
gold standard A method, procedure or measurement that is widely accepted as being the best available.
gum disease A disease that may cause gums to be red, swollen and bleed easily. If it is not treated, gum disease can get worse and damage the tissues that hold your teeth in place. It is also called "gingivitis" or "periodontal disease," depending on how bad it is.
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h
 
hepatitis C Hepatitis C is an infection of the liver.
homeopathic medicine (pronounced ho-me-o-path-ic) A medicine (usually made from plants) given in very small doses that, if given in larger doses, would cause healthy people to experience symptoms of the disease.
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i
 
ibuprofen This medicine relieves pain. You can buy it without getting a prescription from a doctor. Advil and Motrin are both ibuprofen.
implant An artificial tooth root. Implants can be used to support a single crown (artificial tooth) or to hold bridges or dentures in place.
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l
 
loading Loading is when the dentist attaches the artificial tooth or dentures onto an implant.
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m
 
malocclusion (pronounced mal-oh-clu-shun) This term is used to describe teeth that don't line up correctly in the mouth. They may be too far apart, crooked or may not come together right when you bite down.
Mandibular Advancement Device (MAD) is a mouthpiece fitted by a dentist that holds the jaw forward to relieve sleep apnea.
manual toothbrush You have to move a manual toothbrush across your teeth yourself. With a power toothbrush, the bristles move by themselves to brush your teeth.
maxillary sinusitis (pronounced max-i-larry sign-yus-eye-tis) This is an illness that causes swelling in the maxillary sinuses. The maxillary sinuses are spaces located in the bone on either side of your nose, just above your mouth.
Maxillomandibular advancement surgery Maxillomandibular advancement surgery is an oral surgery involving the jaws that is sometimes used to relieve sleep apnea.
milligram A milligram is a unit of measurement. It's like a teaspoon or inch. For short, people write "mg."
mixed dentition This term describes a mouth that has some permanent teeth and some baby teeth.
molars Molars are the large teeth in the back of your mouth. We use our molars to chew food.
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n
 
NSAIDs This is a group of medicines that relieve pain. You can buy any of these without getting a prescription from your doctor.
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o
 
Obstructive sleep apnea Obstructive Sleep Apnea is a disorder during which your breathing briefly stops while you are asleep. Although you typically don’t wake up completely, your sleep is disrupted when you move to reopen your airway. This can happen several times in a night, leaving you tired the next day.
opioids (pronounced oh-pee-oydz) This medicine relieves pain. You need a prescription from a doctor to buy opioids. Opioids may make you sleepy or dizzy. They also can cause breathing problems, and you can become dependent on them, where you feel hooked and don't want to stop taking them.
oral hygiene (pronounced or-all hi-jean) Activities you do to keep your mouth clean. These include brushing your teeth, cheeks, tongue and dentures. You also need to clean between your teeth with dental floss or another interdental cleaner. Regular visits to your dentist are important to good oral hygiene, too.
oral lichen planus (pronounced lie-kun play-nus) This condition may appear as white patches; red, swollen tissues; or open sores in the mouth. Oral lichen planus may cause discomfort like burning or pain. For short, people sometimes write this as "OLP".
orthodontic treatment Orthodontic treatment is used to make teeth line up correctly(see "malocclusion"). Braces are a kind of orthodontic treatment.
osteonecrosis of the jaws (pronounced aw-stee-oh-nuh-kro-sis) Severe loss of the jaw bone. For short, people write "ONJ."
osteoporosis (pronounced aw-stee-oh-poor-oh-sis) A disease that causes bones to become thin and brittle.
Over-the-counter Medicines available for sale that you can get without a prescription from a doctor.
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p
 
Partial Denture A dental appliance with one or more artificial teeth mounted on a support that fits over the gums. The appliance fills the space left when some teeth are missing. The appliance can be removable or fixed (attached permanently to the teeth on either side of the appliance).
parts per million Parts per million is a unit of measurement. It's like a teaspoon or inch. For short, people write "ppm."
peri-implantitis This is an infection that develops around an implant. It can cause bone loss.
periodontitis (pronounced pear-ee-oh-don-tie-tis) This is a severe form of gum disease. It can cause bone loss around the affected teeth. If it goes untreated, you may lose those teeth.
placebo (pronounced pluh-see-bo) This is a fake medicine that researchers sometimes give people in scientific studies. They want to see if people say they feel better after taking it. Then they can test if the real medicine helps people more than the placebo.
plaque (pronounced plak) A thin layer of bacteria that forms on your teeth all the time.
pneumonia (pronounced new-moan-yuh) An infection in the lungs. It causes fluid to build up in the lungs and makes it hard to breathe.
polyol (pronounced paw-lee-all) This is a natural sweetener that can be used instead of sugar.
postoperative after treatment.
power toothbrush A power toothbrush automatically moves the bristles when you brush your teeth.
primary teeth This is the first set of teeth that you get when you are a child. These are sometimes called "baby teeth."
pulp Pulp is the inside of the tooth. It is the blood supply and nerves for the tooth.
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r
 
radiograph A radiograph is a picture of the bones or teeth inside the body. It also is called an "X-ray."
random This is a way of doing things or choosing things that is not planned or following a pattern.
randomized trials Scientific studies where people are put into groups in a way that is not planned and does not follow a pattern.
recede This describes when the gums pull away from the teeth. It also can be called "recession."
root canal treatment A dental treatment for a tooth infection. During a root canal, the blood supply and nerves of the tooth are removed. After that, the tooth is usually filled with a material and sealed, or is specially shaped and covered with an artificial tooth (a crown).
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s
 
sealant A sealant is a thin coating that can be put on the tops of molars and premolars (the big teeth in the back of your mouth). Sealants get hard and keep food from getting packed in the surfaces of these teeth. They prevent tooth decay (cavities).
sinuses Sinuses are spaces in the bones of your face, located in the forehead and on either side of the nose.
Sjögren syndrome Sjögren syndrome is an illness in which the immune system--meant to protect our bodies from disease--attacks the body's own cells by mistake. It mainly causes dry mouth and dry eyes, but can affect other areas of the body like the joints.
stomatitis An irritation of any of the soft tissues of the mouth (lips, gums, cheeks, tongue, floor or roof of the mouth).
survival rate In dentistry, survival rates refer to how long a tooth or restoration (like a filling, crown or dentures) will stay in place and keep working.
systematic review A summary of the medical literature that uses explicit methods to perform a thorough literature search and critical appraisal of individual studies and that uses appropriate statistical techniques to combine these valid studies.
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t
 
Temporomandibular joint disorders (pronounced tem-por-o-man-dib-u-lar) These are problems in your jaw joints that can cause pain. It is often written as TMD.
tooth decay Tooth decay is a hole in the tooth caused by the acid in plaque. It is also called "caries" or, more commonly, a "cavity."
tooth extraction removal of a tooth from the bone socket and surrounding gums
topical Topical refers to medications that are applied to the surface of the body, externally.
Topical therapy A treatment approach in which the treatment agents are not swallowed or injected into a person’s digestive or circulatory system. Instead, these agents only come in contact with the affected area’s surface. Lotions can be used in topical therapy.
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u
 
ultrasound Ultrasound refers to high frquency sound waves. It can be used to create images, similar to radiographs, or clean devices used in dentistry.
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w
 
warfarin Warfarin is a medicine that helps keep blood clots from forming. You need a prescription from your doctor to buy it.
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