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Dental Terms Challenge A-Z Part 1 – How many A-F dental terms do you know?

February 26th, 2021

This blog and the subsequent blogs in this series of challenges are not a comprehensive glossary of dental terms. The challenges are intended to be educational in nature and are offered as an entertaining way to learn some words used in the dental world.

Challenge yourself or battle it out with others to get the best score. Tally the score but reduce it by the number of incorrect answers. You can even run it like a game of Jeopardy. However, you decide to play, have fun!

How many dental terms can you match with the correct definition?


Download the PDF by clicking here: Dental Terms Challenge Part 1 – A-F


1. abscess   2. amalgam   3. arch   4. bicuspid  5. bitewing radiograph   6. bruxism   7. calculus 8. caries/cavities   9. cast   10. composite   11. core buildup   12. coronal   13. crown   14. cusp   15. debridement   16. decay   17. dental prosthesis   18. dentin   19. dressing   20. dry socket


A. Refers to one of the two crescent shaped arrangements of teeth in the human jawbone. The mandibular arch is the one in this facial feature while the maxillary arch is located in the upper part of this facial feature.

B. This is a possible complication after having a tooth removed. Of course, after removing a tooth an empty pocket remains. If the scab covering this pocket is dislodged, the area is exposed to everything including potential infection. To encourage healing and prevent infection, the dentist may have to pack the empty space with a medical gel or dressing. 

C. No, it’s nothing to do with the corona virus! Instead, it refers to the top surface or the crown of teeth.

D. In the dental world, this word refers to the dead, rotted area on a tooth. It also refers to dead tooth structure.

E. This is a type of filling that is not silver in colour. It is made of tooth coloured plastic and a glass mixture. It can be used to repair decayed teeth as well as in cosmetic improvements such as building up a front tooth that has been chipped.

F. Both of these words refer to permanently damaged areas in the hard surface of teeth that develop into tiny openings or holes. They can be caused by a bacterial infection, extensive ingestion of sugary treats and poor oral health practices. If they are not too severe they can be filled.

G. This word can be defined as a pointed end where two curves meet. Can you think of any human teeth that look like that? You’re right. Those teeth that are sharp in appearance, resemble canine teeth and are often referred to as fangs can be described in this way. They are known as cuspid teeth. We humans have four cuspids. 

H. No, it’s not what we eat with turkey, nor does it refer to the act of putting on clothes! Dressing in the dental profession refers to the bandages, gauze or other materials used to cover an open wound in the mouth to prevent infection and bleeding.

I. This word has numerous synonyms including a blend, mixture or a compound. And, any of these could be used to describe the mixture of different metals used by dentists for over 150 years. In mixing metals like silver, tin, copper and mercury dentists create a putty-like substance. This substance can then be used to ‘fill in’ a hole in a tooth.

J. No really. This has nothing to do with taking a bride away from her groom! Instead, it refers to the removal of calculus or plaque buildup on teeth.

K. This refers to an artificial device designed to correct dental defects such as missing teeth, or missing parts of teeth. It can also refer to an artificial devise used to replace missing soft or hard structures of the jaw and palate.

L. This is a fancy way to describe the rubbing or grinding of teeth. Did you know? Most people are not aware they grind their teeth as it usually happens when they are fast asleep. 

M. Not to be confused with a core workout! When a tooth requires a crown and there is insufficient material to build it, an additional section is made using artificial materials. This word refers to this additional section. 

N. This is the x-ray taken of the crowns of molar and premolar teeth, and the height of the bone between the teeth. In this x-ray, the film is encased in cardboard folded into a wing-like shape. Placed between the upper and lower pre-molars and molars, the patient must bite down on it while the x-ray is taken.

O. A tooth has four layers. The first layer is called the enamel. The second layer is a hard, dense material that is harder than bone. And this word is the name of that second layer.

P. An infection resulting in the collection of pus under pressure.

Q. No, it doesn’t cap the head of a person of royalty. It does, however, cap a tooth! It is cemented on and covers the tooth to improve its appearance, strength and usability. 

R. Yes, it’s a branch of mathematics but, in the dental world it’s something else. It is the hardened dental plaque that builds up on teeth over time. It is also known as tartar. Hint: The word begins with the letter ‘c.’

S. The type of tooth with two cuspids or points. They are also known as premolars as they are located between the cuspids or canines and molars.

T. A dental impression made of a full set of teeth. Impressions can be made to help make dentures and/or to develop a treatment plan to repair damages from congenital defects or accidents. 


1.  P       2.  I       3.  A       4.  S       5.  N     6.  L      7.  R      8.  F      9.  T     10.  E      

11.  M    12.  C    13.  Q    14.  G    15.  J    16.  D    17.  K    18.  O    19.  H    20.  B




Aspen Dental,

Absolute Dental,

Cambridge English Dictionary, 

Dentist Directory Canada, 

Merriam Webster Dictionary,

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