Behind The Name: The Origins For Common Terms In Denistry

Types Of Dentistry

  • Periodontics: This branch deals with gum health. The word “peri” is Greek for “near, around, surround,” which is the relation of gums to teeth.
  • Orthodontics: This branch deals with straightening teeth with the use of braces. The word “ortho” is Greek for “upright, straight, correct” which is what braces can do for teeth.
  • Endodontics: This branch deals with the health of tissues inside the teeth. The word “endo” is Greek for “within,” referring to the parts of the tooth endodontists work with.

Names Of Teeth

  • Incisor: derives from the Latin word “incidere” meaning “to cut.”
  • Canine: named because of its similar appearance to dog teeth.
  • Bicuspid: named because it has two to three points (which are called cusps).
  • Molar: derives from the Latin word “molaris” which means “grinding.”
  • Wisdom Teeth: named because they come in during young adulthood, or the “age of wisdom.”

Other Terms

  • Gums: derives from “goma,” the old English word for palete.
  • Floss: comes from the French words “soie floche” meaning “floss silk” which is the material floss used to be made from.
  • Dentist: originates from the word “dente” which is French for “tooth.”