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Dental Terms

Friday, Jul 08,2016


Ever wonder what people are talking about when they speak of certain terms? Here’s a list of the basics and their meanings! Now you’re in the loop.


Human Dentition – The teeth that are located in the upper and lower jaws are collectively referred to as the human dentition.


Maxillae – The upper jaw is known as the maxillae.


Maxillary Teeth – The teeth located in the maxillae form an arch and are referred to as maxillary teeth.


Mandible – The lower jaw is called the mandible.


Mandibular Teeth – The teeth located in the mandible are referred to as mandibular teeth. As humans, we have two sets of teeth during our lifetime.


Primary Dentition – The first set of teeth we get. These are often referred to as baby teeth. There are 20 teeth in the primary dentition.


Permanent Dentition – The second set of teeth we get. These are often referred to as adult teeth. There are 32 teeth in the permanent dentition. There are several terms that help to define locations on and around the teeth. These terms are used often to refer to specific areas of the mouth when describing conditions there.

Posterior – Towards the back of the mouth.


Anterior – Towards the front of the mouth


Mesial – Towards the midline of the mouth.


Distal – Away from the midline of the mouth


Buccal – Any area on the cheek side of the teethLingual – Any area on the tongue side of the teeth


Facial – Any area on the cheek or lip side of the teeth. Is often used interchangeably with buccal but mostly in the anterior portion of the mouth.


Palatal – Any area on the tongue side of the maxillary teeth


Occlusal – Any area on the chewing surfaces of back teeth.


Incisal – Any area on the biting surfaces of the front teeth.

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