Dental Terminology 101

Does dental terminology have you grinding your teeth? If so, you’re not alone. Dental terminology can be confusing. Find out how much you know about dental speak by taking your northwest Indiana dentist, Dr. Nicholas Cain’s true or false quiz, Dental Terminology 101, below.

True or False?

  1. T or F: Dentition is what dentists call their dental staff.
  2. T or F: Your anterior teeth are the teeth furthest back in your mouth.
  3. T or F: The term bruxism refers to brushing your teeth too hard.
  4. T or F: Edentulism refers to when you have pits in your teeth, or dents.
  5. T or F: Calculus is a dental math term to determine how many teeth you will lose.
  6. T or F: Caries is another word for cavities.
  7. T or F: Gingival tissue means your gums.
  8. T or F: Occlusion refers to the teeth your dentist is including in treatment.


  1. False: Dentition refers to the patient’s complete set of teeth.
  2. False: Your anterior teeth are your front top and front bottom teeth.
  3. False: Bruxism is when a patient grinds and clenches their teeth.
  4. False: Edentulism refers to having lost all of your teeth, or being toothless.
  5. False: Although Calculus is the name of a math course, in terms of dentistry it is another name for tartar.
  6. True: The term dental caries refers to tooth decay or cavities resulting from a bacterial infection which causes demineralization and destruction of the hard tissues of the teeth. It is considered a chronic health disease for children in the U.S.
  7. True:Your gingival tissue or gingiva refers to the pink gum tissue or gums that surround your dentition.
  8. False: Occlusion is the alignment of your teeth when you bite down. Malocclusion means your teeth don’t line up correctly.

About your Gary Dentist

Dr. Nicholas Cain provides stellar preventive, cosmetic, and restorative dentistry in his comfortable Gary, IN office. His services include children’s dentistry, bruxism and TMJ treatment, porcelain veneers, and orthodontics. To request an appointment with Healthy Smiles, contact us at 219-938-2637 or email We proudly welcome patients living in and around Gary, Miller, and Miller Beach.