7 Common Dental Terms You Should Know

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Every Patient should have a grasp of some of the common dental terms they will hear in the course of regular dental treatment. Here are some common terms you should know:


Caries are one of the common dental terms dentists use to describe tooth decay. Another term you may know for caries is “cavities.” Tooth decay, cavities, or caries describes when a portion of the tooth enamel has been compromised and there is tooth decay.


Enamel is the hard outer layer of the tooth surface that is comprised of minerals. This protects the dentin and the pulp inside the tooth from decay. It is very important to protect enamel from erosion.


A natural mineral found in water that helps make the exterior of teeth resistant to decay.

Periodontal Disease

Infections around the teeth, or gum disease. Gingivitis is an early stage of periodontal disease.


The sticky film that forms around teeth as the bacteria break down on the surface of the teeth. This bacterial film can cause decay and gum disease if not regularly removed by proper oral hygiene.


Hardened plaque that has formed and can only be removed by “scaling” a process that your dental hygienist will do at each regular cleaning. It can cause irritation of gum tissue.


The inner layer of the tooth which is protected by enamel, and encases the pulp and nerve of the tooth. When the Dentin is exposed, it can cause tooth sensitivity.

These common dental terms can be useful in understanding your own dental care, and more about the importance of good oral hygiene. They can also help you to be more informed about your own oral health, and helpful during your regular dental exam to understand more about your own unique needs and situation.

If you’d like to know more about your oral health, or just set up a regular dental exam, call our Shreveport dentist to set up an appointment and become more involved in your dental care!