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Terminology of Dental Diseases

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  • 0:01 Dentist Speak
  • 0:26 Plaque, Tartar,…
  • 1:35 Gingivitis & Periodontitis
  • 2:47 Bruxism &…
  • 3:40 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Artem Cheprasov

Artem has a doctor of veterinary medicine degree.

Want to talk like a dentist? This lesson introduces some basic technical terms for common words you already know, like cavities, tartar, bad breath, and many more.

Dentist Speak

Brush your teeth twice a day! Your dentist has probably told you this countless times. Why? It's so you can prevent cavities, tartar, and bad breath, among other problems.

Did you know these terms have technical names, though? After watching this lesson, the next time you go to your dentist, the two of you will be able to speak the same language, since you're about to learn a bunch of terms related to dental problems.

Plaque, Tartar, Cavities, & Bad Breath

The reason your dentist begs you to brush your teeth twice a day is because all of this helps prevents plaque, tartar, cavities, and bad breath, among other things, of course!

You definitely won't get any plaques if you don't brush your teeth as recommended; instead you'll get a bunch of dental plaque, a dense, soft, non-mineralized, sticky biofilm of microbes.

Why is removing dental plaque via brushing important? Let's calculate something. If you don't get rid of dental plaque, it'll turn into dental calculus, or tartar. Tartar is mineralized dental plaque, meaning it's dental plaque that has hardened. Tartar can't be removed via brushing alone as it's too hard. Harder than mathematical calculus! So, prevent this dental calculus by brushing the much softer dental plaque away!

The other reason you need to get rid of the bacteria in your mouth is because they are responsible for cavities, or dental caries. This is also known as tooth decay. And, of course bacteria are also the principal cause of halitosis, or bad breath.

Gingivitis & Periodontitis

And if bad breath doesn't scare away all of your friends, then bleeding from the gums as you smile surely will! Won't it? Bleeding from the gums is just one sign of inflammation of the gums, or gingivitis. 'Gingiv-' means 'gums' and '-itis' means 'inflammation.'

A more serious version of gingivitis is known as 'trench mouth,' or acute necrotizing ulcerative gingivitis. 'Acute' means it's sudden in onset. 'Necrotizing' refers to necrosis, the death of cells and tissues that make up the gums. The reason it's called trench mouth is because it was common in soldiers stuck in the trenches of World War I.

If the gingivitis is left untreated, then a more serious form of gum disease called periodontitis will occur. Periodontitis is more technically the inflammation and destruction of the soft tissues and bone surrounding the teeth.

This can lead to the loss of your teeth, as the framework that keeps them in place inside of your mouth, called the periodontium, is destroyed in periodontitis.

So, even if bad breath and bleeding from the gums as you smile doesn't scare your friends away, a mouth missing its teeth on top of that just might!

Bruxism, & Temporomandibular Disorder

Of course, there is one small benefit to losing all of your teeth! You won't have to worry about bruxism, clenching or grinding of the teeth, most commonly during sleep, which wears away the teeth with time.

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