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Protecting All Children's Teeth (PACT): A Pediatric Oral Health Training Program
The terms listed here are all included in the training module. Unless otherwise denoted with a “*”, all glossary definitions were adapted from: Medline Plus Online Medical Dictionary. A Service of the US National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health, accessed January 31, 2008.



Abscess: A localized collection of pus surrounded by inflamed tissue

Amelogenesis: The process of forming tooth enamel

Amelogenesis Imperfecta: Faulty development of tooth enamel that is genetically determined

Ankyloglossia: A congenital defect characterized by limited mobility of the tongue due to shortness of its frenulum

Ankylosis: Fusion of the alveolar bone with tooth cementum

Anodontia: An especially congenital absence of teeth

Anterior Cross Bite*: Malocclusion in which the maxillary incisors are posterior to (behind) the mandibular incisors.

Anterior Open Bite*: Vertical space between the upper and lower incisors resulting from opposing teeth failing to establish occlusal contact when the jaws are closed

Aphthae: A speck or blister on the mucous membranes characteristic of some diseases

Aphthous Stomatitis: A very common disorder of the oral mucosa that is characterized by the formation of canker sores on mucous membranes and that has a multiple etiology but is not caused by the herpes simplex virus

Aphthous Ulcer: Disintegration and necrosis of epithelial tissue on a mucous membrane; usually painful


Bacteriostatic: Causing inhibition of the growth of bacteria without destruction

Bruxism: The habit of unconsciously gritting or grinding the teeth especially in situations of stress or during sleep


Calculus: A concretion on teeth; an incrustation on the teeth consisting of plaque that has become hardened by the deposition of mineral salts

Cavity: An area of decay in a tooth

Cementum: A specialized external bony layer covering the dentin of the part of a tooth normally within the gum

Cheilitis: Inflammation of the lip

Circumvallate Papilla: Any of approximately 12 large papillae near the back of the tongue; supplied with taste buds responsive especially to bitter flavors

Cleft Palate: Congenital fissure of the roof of the mouth produced by failure of the two maxillae to unite during embryonic development and often associated with cleft lip

Cleidocranial dysostosis: A rare condition inherited in an autosomal dominant fashion and characterized especially by partial or complete absence of the clavicles, defective ossification of the skull, and faulty occlusion due to missing, misplaced, or supernumerary teeth

Crossbite*: Abnormal relationship of a tooth or teeth to the opposing teeth, with reversal of the normal pattern.

Cyanosis: A bluish or purplish discoloration (as of skin) due to deficient oxygenation of the blood


A calcareous material similar to bone but harder and denser that composes the principal mass of a tooth; consists of a matrix containing minute parallel tubules which open into the pulp cavity and during life contain processes of the cells of the pulp


Intensely hard calcareous substance that forms a thin layer partly covering the teeth; the hardest substance of the animal body; consists of minute prisms arranged at right angles to the surface and bound together by a cement substance

Endocarditis: Inflammation of the lining of the heart and its valves

Exfoliation: The shedding of a superficial layer of a tooth


Familial Adenomatous Polyposis:
A disease of the large intestine that is marked by the formation especially in the colon and rectum of numerous adenomatous polyps which typically become malignant if left untreated; inherited as an autosomal dominant trait

Filiaform Papilla: Any of numerous minute pointed papillae on the tongue

Fluoroapatite*: Hard crystalline substance with the formula Ca5(PO4)3F; structural element of tooth enamel

Fluorosis: An abnormal condition (as mottled enamel of human teeth) caused by fluorine or its compounds

Foliate Papilla: Any of the paired oval papillae of the lateral aspect of the posterior part of the tongue that are rudimentary or missing in humans but form the chief organs of taste of some other mammals (as rabbits)

Frenectomy: Excision of a frenulum

Fungiform Papilla: Any of numerous papillae on the upper surface of the tongue that are flat-topped and noticeably red from the richly vascular stroma and usually contain taste buds


Inflammation of the gums


A condition of having fetid breath

Hydroxyapatite: A complex phosphate of calcium Ca5(PO4)3OH that occurs as a mineral and is the chief structural element of vertebrate bone

Hypodontia: A congenital condition marked by a less than normal number of teeth; partial anodontia

Hypophosphatasia: A congenital metabolic disorder characterized by a deficiency of alkaline phosphatase and usually resulting in demineralization of bone

Hypopituitarism: Deficient production of growth hormones by the pituitary gland

Hypoplasia: A condition of arrested development in which an organ or part of an organ remains below the normal size or in an immature state

Hyperbilirubinemia: The presence of an excess of bilirubin in the blood

Hyperdontia*: A congenital condition marked by a greater than normal number of teeth

Hyperplasia: An abnormal or unusual increase in the elements composing a part (as cells composing a tissue).


A condition commonly considered precancerous in which thickened white patches of epithelium occur on the mucous membranes especially of the mouth


Malocclusion: An abnormality in the coming together of teeth

Methemoglobinemia: The presence of methemoglobin in the blood due to conversion of part of the hemoglobin to this inactive form

Mucocele: A swelling like a sac due to distension of a hollow organ or cavity with mucus

Mucositis: Inflammation of a mucous membrane


Non-cariogenic Diet: A diet not contributing to the formation of caries, low in sugar

Nonnutritive Sucking*:Sucking not relating to or providing nutrition

Neutropenia: Leukopenia in which the decrease in white blood cells is chiefly in neutrophils


Inflammation of the periodontium and especially the periodontal membrane

Porphyria: Abnormalities of porphyrin metabolism characterized by excretion of excess porphyrins in the urine and by extreme sensitivity to light; usually hereditary

Posterior Crossbite:* Malocclusion in which the posterior maxillary molars or premolars are lingually displaced inside of the mandibular teeth.

Pulp: The highly vascular sensitive tissue occupying the central cavity of a tooth


Riga-Fede Disease*:
Ulceration of the lingual frenum or ventral surface of the tongue in infants caused by abrasion of the tissue against natal or neonatal teeth


Temporomandibular Joint:
The diarthrosis between the temporal bone and mandible that includes the condyloid process below separated by an articular disk from the glenoid fossa above and that allows for the opening, closing, protrusion, retraction, and lateral movement of the mandible

Temporomandibular Joint Disorder: A group of symptoms that may include pain or tenderness in the temporomandibular joint or surrounding muscles, headache, earache, neck, back, or shoulder pain, limited jaw movement, or a clicking or popping sound in the jaw and that are caused either by dysfunction of the temporomandibular joint (as derangement of the articular disk) or another problem (as spasm or tension of the masticatory muscles) affecting the region of the temporomandibular joint


Abnormal dryness of the mouth due to insufficient saliva production

Xylitol: A crystalline alcohol C5H12O5 that is a derivative of xylose, used as a sweetener

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