Do you know the difference between plaque and calculus? Can you use the word “bruxism” in a sentence? Dental terms are often confusing and intimidating, but we’ve defined a few common words and solutions to help you in your next appointment.

Bruxism – grinding or gnashing of the teeth, most commonly while the patient is asleep. To counteract, ask your dentist about a night guard.

Calculus (tartar) – a hard deposit of minerals coated with bacterial plaque that can build up on the teeth and cause gum inflammation. Eliminate calculus with regular teeth cleanings.

Dry socket – pain and inflammation in a tooth socket after the tooth is removed. If you have a dry socket—most commonly seen after extracted wisdom teeth—avoid smoking or drinking with a straw. Before you see your dentist, eat soft foods, remain hydrated, and rinse your mouth with saline.  

Gingivitis – the inflammation of gum tissue. The best way to prevent gingivitis is to maintain a good dental hygiene routine. Brush twice a day for two minutes, floss daily, and visit your dentist regularly. If the inflammation does not subside, schedule an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible.

Gum Recession – the exposure of dental roots by shrinkage of the gums. Recession is usually a result of abrasion, hard brushing, periodontal disease or surgery. Make sure to use a soft toothbrush, and massage the gums in small circles. For better results, invest in an electric toothbrush.

Halitosis – bad breath caused by excessive oral bacteria or poor gastrointestinal health. To fight bad breath, use mouthwash after brushing or chew sugarfree gum. Enjoy healthy snacks that act as natural toothbrushes. Snacks include apples, carrots or celery.

Impaction – a partial or completely unexposed tooth that is wedged against another tooth, bone, or soft tissue, precluding the eruption process. Commonly found in pediatric patients, alert your dentist if you child is experiencing pain as permanent teeth begin to emerge.

For more bites of wisdom, or to schedule an appointment, call Champagne Family Dentistry at 775-359-3934.