Long Wharf Dental Group
1 Long Wharf Drive, Suite #221, New Haven, CT 06511

Glossary of Dental Terms


Amalgam – Material made from mercury and other alloy mixtures used to restore a drilled portion of a tooth.
Anesthesia – Medications used to relieve pain.
Anterior teeth – Front teeth. Also called incisors and cuspids.
Arch – The upper or lower jaw.


Baby bottle tooth decay – Caused by sugary substances in breast milk and some juices, which combine with saliva to form pools inside the baby?s mouth.
Bicuspids – Back teeth used for chewing.
Bitewings – X-rays that help a dentist diagnose cavities.
Bonding – Application of tooth-colored resin materials to the surface of the teeth.
Bridge – A fixed or removable appliance that replaces lost teeth.
Bruxism – Teeth grinding.


Calculus – A sticky substance (also called tartar) that has hardened.
Canal – The narrow chamber inside the tooth?s root.
Canines – Also called cuspids.
Canker sore – One that occurs on the delicate tissues inside your mouth. A canker sore is usually light-colored at its base and can have a red exterior border.
Caries – Another term for decay, which causes cavities.
Cold sore – Usually occurs on the outside of the mouth, usually on or near the nose or lips. A cold sore is contagious because it is caused by the herpes simplex virus, and it is usually painful and filled with fluid.
Composite filling – Tooth colored restorations, also known as resin fillings.
Composite resin – A tooth-colored resin combined with silica or porcelain and used as a restoration material.
Contouring – The process of reshaping teeth.
Crown – An artificial cover that is placed on the top of a tooth following restoration.
Cusps – The pointed parts on top of the back teeth?s chewing surface.
Cuspids – Front teeth that typically have a protruding edge.


Dentin – The tooth layer underneath the enamel.
Denture – A removable set of teeth.


Endodontics – A form of dentistry that addresses problems affecting the tooth?s root or nerve.


Fluoride – A naturally occurring substance added to water, toothpastes and some rinses and used for strengthening the tooth?s enamel.
Fluorosis – A harmless over-exposure to fluoride and resulting sometimes in tooth discoloration.


Gingiva – Another word for gum tissue.
Gingivitis – A minor disease of the gums caused by plaque.
Gum disease – An infection of the gum tissues. Also called periodontal disease.


Impacted teeth – A condition in which a tooth fails to erupt or only partially erupts.
Implant – A permanent appliance used to replace a missing tooth.
Incisor – Front teeth with cutting edges; located in the center or on the sides near the front.
Inlay – An artificial filling made of various materials, including porcelain, resin, or gold.


Laminate veneer – A shell that is bonded to the enamel of a front tooth. The shell is usually thin and made from porcelain resin.
Laser – Light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation. A single wavelength beam of highly concentrated energy.


Malocclusion – Bad bite relationship.
Mandible – The lower jaw.
Maxilla – The upper jaw.
Molar – Usually the largest teeth, near the rear of the mouth. Molars have large chewing surfaces.


Neuromuscular Dentistry – are more than the aches and pains felt in around the neck and head that are associated with your teeth and jaw.


Onlay – A filling designed to protect the chewing surface of a tooth.
Orthodontics – A field of dentistry that deals with tooth and jaw alignment.
Overdenture – A non-fixed dental appliance applied to a small number of natural teeth or implants.


Palate – Roof of the mouth.
Partial denture – A removable appliance that replaces teeth. Also called a bridge.
Pedodontics – A field of dentistry that deals with children?s teeth.
Perio pocket – An opening formed by receding gums.
Periodontal disease – Infection of the gum tissues. Also called gum disease.
Periodontist – A dentist who treats diseases of the gums.
Permanent teeth – The teeth that erupt after primary teeth. Also called adult teeth.
Plaque – A sticky, colorless substance that covers the teeth after sleep or periods between brushing.
Posterior teeth – The bicuspids and molars. Also called the back teeth.
Primary teeth – A person?s first set of teeth. Also called baby teeth or temporary teeth.
Prophylaxis – The act of cleaning the teeth.
Prosthodontics – The field of dentistry that deals with artificial dental appliances.
Pulp – The inner tissues of the tooth containing blood, nerves and connective tissue.


Receding gum – A condition in which the gums separate from the tooth, allowing bacteria and other substances to attack the tooth?s enamel and surrounding bone.
Resin filling – An artificial filling used to restore teeth. Also called a composite filling.
Root canal – A procedure in which a tooth?s nerve is removed and an inner canal cleansed and later filled.
Root planing – Scraping or cleansing of teeth to remove heavy buildup of tartar below the gum line.


Sealant – A synthetic material placed on the tooth?s surface that protects the enamel and chewing surfaces.


TMJ – Temporomandibular joint disorder. Health problems related to the jaw joint just in front of the ear.
Tarter – A hardened substance (also called calculus) that sticks to the tooth?s surface.


Veneer – A laminate applied or bonded to the tooth.


Whitening – A process that employs special bleaching agents for restoring the color of teeth.
Wisdom tooth – Third set of molars that erupt last in adolescence.

Read What Our Patients Say
Patient Reviews
Long Wharf Dental is the best place to go for dental work. Staff is customer friendly and professional, you feel like you are just as important as anyone else. I would recommend this place over any […]
Hiawatha W.
Dr. Mark Rothman and the knowledgeable staff at Long Wharf Dental Group go above and beyond to make their patients comfortable. They put your best interest first, they listen carefully to your […]
Diane N.
I love the service they are very very compassionate about the patients that they provide service for I will recommend anyone to come here.
One L.
I called and was seen the same day. They are so amazing and they take so good care of us as patients. Thank you Long Wharf Dental!!!
Professional, thorough and thoughtful.
Janet B.
As always, a visit to Long Wharf Dental is a very positive, professional experience. Everyone is courteous, friendly and positive. A pleasure to do business with them.
Very friendly front desk and staff, I am extremely satisfied with the results and care that Dr. Rothman has provided!
Rachneet S.
Dr. Lerman and Nella, the dental hygienist, were very attentive to my dental needs. I trust them both in their expertise. The office staff are very friendly, professional, and helpful.
Maria G.
Going to the dentist most be the most terrifying thing known to mankind, but at Long Wharf Dental they make you feel at home and comfortable. I had not been to the dentist in 8 years prior to my […]
Darrell B.
I drive a long distance to see Dr. Lerman. He’s the best! Also have been coming here for over 25 years. I would definitely recommend anybody needing Dental Care to come here.
Gay T.
Very good experience very good staff will be continuing to get my dental work there and my family
Billy R.
Great Service!
Cassandra F.
Great cleaning with a friendly environment.
Arielle O.
So glad I found Dr. Rothman – I was deadly afraid of dental treatment but not anymore. Had 2 root canals done and it was nearly painless. Great staff as well – always felt very well taken care of
Gina G.
Awesome dental service!
Martin B.
Been with this Dental group for over 35 years & that is how good they are!!!
Lawrence I.
I was very please with the experience. Despite the fact that the procedure needed to be long and uncomfortable, I found the Dr. skillful and confident which gave me a lot of security. He explained […]
My family have received excellent dental care for 10 yrs. Dr.Lerman is very thorough with his expertise in dental and pharmaceutical along with his patience to have a discussion on options. The […]
Priscilla C.
My experience has great for my first visit. No long wait. The dental assistants have been very nice and informative. The dentist came in and was pleasant and made me feel comfortable. I don’t like […]
Kelli B.
Office Hours
Mon. – 7:30 AM - 4:45 PM
Tue. – 7:30 AM - 4:45 PM
Wed. – 7:30 AM - 4:45 PM
Thu. – 7:30 AM - 4:45 PM
Fri. – 8:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Sat. – Closed
Sun. – Closed
Phone: (203) 764-2386
Fax: (203) 781-4280
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For appointments, call us at: (203) 764-2386 or
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For appointments, call: (203) 764-2386
Office Hours
  • Monday 7:30 AM - 4:45 PM
  • Tuesday 7:30 AM - 4:45 PM
  • Wednesday 7:30 AM - 4:45 PM
  • Thursday 7:30 AM - 4:45 PM
  • Friday 8:00 AM - 4:00 PM
  • Saturday Closed
  • Sunday Closed
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  • Phone: (203) 764-2386
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