Glossary of Dental Health Terms
NSAID: a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug, often used as a dental analgesic.
occlusal X-rays: an X-ray showing full tooth development and placement. Each X-ray reveals the entire arch of teeth in either the upper or lower jaw.
occlusion: the relationship of the upper and lower teeth when the jaws are closed.
onlay: a type of restoration (filling) made of metal, porcelain, or acrylic that is more extensive than an inlay in that it covers one or more cusps. Onlays are sometimes called partial crowns.
oral cavity: the mouth.
oral and maxillofacial radiologist: the oral health care provider who specializes in the production and interpretation of all types of X-ray images and data that are used in the diagnosis and management of diseases, disorders, and conditions of the oral and maxillofacial region.
oral and maxillofacial surgery: surgical procedures on the mouth including extractions, removal of cysts or tumors, and repair of fractured jaws.
oral hygiene: process of maintaining cleanliness of the teeth and related structures.
oral medicine: the specialty of dentistry that provides for the care of the medically complex patient through the integration of medicine and oral health care.
oral pathologist: the oral health care provider who studies the causes of diseases that alter or affect the oral structures (teeth, lips, cheeks, jaws) as well as parts of the face and neck.
oral surgeon: the oral health care provider who performs many types of surgical procedures in and around the entire face, mouth, and jaw area.
orthodontics: dental specialty that using braces, retainers, and other dental devices to treat misalignment of teeth, restoring them to proper functioning.
orthodontist: the oral health provider who specializes in diagnosis, prevention, interception, and treatment of malocclusions, or "bad bites," of the teeth and surrounding structures. This is the specialist whose responsibility it is to straighten teeth by movement of the teeth through bone by the use of bands, wires, braces, and other fixed or removable corrective appliances or retainers.
overbite: an excessive protrusion of the upper jaw resulting in a vertical overlap of the front teeth.