Dental Terminology

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Terms used to describe the aspects of the tooth are different to those used when describing other aspects of the body. These terms are used when describing where a lesion is on the tooth eg. periodontal pocket on the palatal aspect of the upper canine. The terms can also be combined to give absolute accuracy for example distopalatal would indicate the surface of the tooth furthest away from the midline and on the aspect facing the palate.

Term Explanation
Mid-line Refers to the centre point in the mouth between the first incisors on the left and right side, so closest to the midline is the aspect of the tooth in the arch that is closest to the midpoint of the two incisors.
Palatal Surface of the tooth towards the palate.
Lingual Surface of the tooth towards the tongue.
Labial Surface of the tooth towards the lips.
Buccal Surface of the tooth towards the cheeks.
Occlusal Surface of the tooth facing the opposite jaw.
Interproximal Surface between two teeth.
Mesial Surface of the tooth towards the front mid-line.
Distal Surface of the tooth away from the front mid-line.
Apical Towards the root.
Coronal Towards the crown.

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