Glossary of Dental Health Terms
pontic: a replacement tooth mounted on a fixed or removal appliance.
porcelain: a tooth-colored, sand-like material; much like enamel in appearance.
porcelain crown: all porcelain restoration covering the coronal portion of tooth (above the gum line).
porcelain fused to metal (PFM) crown: restoration with metal caping (for strength) covered by porcelain (for appearance).
porcelain inlay or onlay: tooth-colored restoration made of porcelain, cemented or bonded in place.
post: thin metal rod inserted into the root of a tooth after root canal therapy; provides retention for a capping that replaces lost tooth structure.
pregnancy gingivitis: gingivitis that develops during pregnancy. The hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy -- especially the increased level of progesterone -- may make it easier for certain gingivitis-causing bacteria to grow and make gum tissue more sensitive to plaque and exaggerate the body's response to the toxins (poisons) that result from plaque.
pregnancy tumors: an extreme inflammatory reaction to a local irritation (such as food particles or plaque) that occurs in up to 10% of pregnant women and often in women who also have pregnancy gingivitis. Pregnancy tumors appear on inflamed gum tissue as large lumps with deep red pinpoint markings on it, usually near the upper gum line. The red lump glistens, may bleed and crust over, and can make eating and speaking difficult and cause discomfort.
primary teeth: the first set of 20 temporary teeth. Also called baby teeth, the primary dentition, or deciduous teeth, normally fall out one by one between ages 6 and 12.
prophylaxis: the cleaning of the teeth for the prevention of periodontal disease and tooth decay.
prosthetics: a fixed or removable appliance used to replace missing teeth (for example, bridges, partials, and dentures).
prosthodontist: a dental specialist who is skilled in restoring or replacing teeth with fixed or removable prostheses (appliances), maintaining proper occlusion; treats facial deformities with artificial prostheses such as eyes, ears, and noses.
pulp: the living part of the tooth, located inside the dentin. Pulp contains the nerve tissue and blood vessels that supply nutrients to the tooth.
radiographic: refers to X-rays.