Animal Dental Specialists of Upstate New York

6867 East Genesee Street
Fayetteville, NY 13066


Glossary of Veterinary Dental Terminology



Alveolus:  the socket that surrounds and supports the root of the tooth

Brachycephalic:  refers to the shape of a patient's head.  In this case, "shortened" head as in the Pug, Bulldog and Persian cats

Canine tooth:  in mammals, one of the four largest, single-rooted teeth.  They are relatively long and pointed and are sometimes called "fangs."

Conventional Endodontic Therapy:  a procedure which removes contaminated pulp and fills the pulp cavity with a biologically inert material.  Also called a "root canal"

Crown:  the part of the tooth visible above the gum line

Deciduous baby teeth that will fall out, replaced by the adult dentition

Dental caries:  tooth decay with demineralization of enamel and dentin (relatively rare in dogs)

Dolichocephalic:  refers to the shape of a patient's head.  In this case, long and narrow, as seen in Collies, Greyhounds and some Siamese cats

Epulis:  common oral tumors, some of which are benign tumors of the periodontal ligament, some of which are a locally aggressive and highly invasive neoplasm

Enamel:  the covering over the crown of the tooth and the hardest substance in the body

Endodontics:  a branch of dentistry dealing with the treatment of diseases that affect the tooth pulp

Exodontics:  a branch of dentistry dealing with the extraction of teeth and related procedures

Extraction:  removal of a tooth

Resorption Lesion:  common, painful "cavity" lesion often found at the neck of the tooth in cats.  Also known as "neck lesions" or "cervical line lesions."

Gingiva:  the gums

Gingivitis:  inflammation of the gingiva

Malocclusion:  improper alignment of the teeth

Mandibular:  referring to the lower jaw

Mandibular prognathism:  a longer than normal mandible

Maxillary:  referring to the upper jaw

Maxillary brachygnathism:  a shorter than normal upper jaw

Mesaticephalic:  refers to the shape of a patient's head.  In this case, medium-shaped, as in the Labrador Retriever, Dalmation, Poodle and most Domestic Shorthair cats

Neck:  the part of the tooth between crown and root located at the gum line

Occlusion:  alignment of the teeth (the way the teeth fit together)

Odontoclast:  one of the large multinucleate cells that are active during dental resorption

Orthodontics:  a branch of dentistry dealing with the guidance and correction of malocclusion

Periodontal ligament a fibrous structure which holds the tooth in the alveolus (socket)

Periodontics:  the study and treatment of diseases of the tooth-supporting tissues

Prosthodontics:  a branch of dentistry dealing with the construction of appliances designed to replace missing teeth and/or other adjacent structures

Pulp:  the fleshy part in the center of a tooth comprised of soft tissue, cells, blood vessels and nerve endings

Pulp cavity:  the hollow chamber in the tooth in which pulp tissue is located

Radiograph:  an x-ray

Restorative/operative dentistry:  the restoration of form and function of teeth

Root:  the part of the tooth underneath the gum line

Root Apex:  the narrowed or pointed end of the root of a tooth

Rugae:  the covering of the hard palate that is characterized by irregular ridges

Stomatitis:  inflammation of the gingival and oral mucosa

Vital Pulp Therapy:  a procedure which preserves healthy dental pulp