Abscess - pus from an infection caused by severe tooth decay, trauma or gum disease.

Amalgam - a silver and mercury material used for fillings. <from Greek malagma, soft mass>

Anesthetic - a drug used by the doctor to eliminate localized pain during certain dental procedures <From Greek anaisthētos, without feeling>

Anterior - the teeth in the front of your mouth.<from Ante - Before>

Antiseptic - a substance that when applied to living tissue will destroy germs. <anti - against; septos - rotting>

Apex - the very tip of the root of a tooth.


Bite - how the teeth meet or come together.

Bleaching Agent - a gel used to whiten and brighten teeth.

Bond - to join two things together, usually with a very strong cement.

Bonding - a plastic composite painted on the teeth to correct stains or damage.

Bridge - one or more artificial teeth attached to your adjacent teeth.


Calculus - the hardened plaque that can form on neglected or prone teeth, commonly known as tartar.

Cavity - a tiny hole in the tooth caused by decay.

Composite - material that is made from different substances combined. They can be used for fillings or used in making veneers.

Crown - an artificial tooth or cover made of porcelain or metal.

Cusps - pointed projections on teeth.


Decalcification - the loss of calcium from the teeth.

Deciduous Teeth - also called "baby teeth."

Dental Implants - an implant permanently attached to the jawbone that replaces a missing tooth or teeth.

Dentin - that layer of tooth below the enamel that serves too cover and contain the pulp of the tooth.

Denture - a removable set of artificial teeth.


Enamel - the hard surface of the tooth above the gum line.

Endodontist - a dentist who specializes in root canals and the treatment of diseases and infections of the dental pulp (inner tooth). From the Greek word endo - inside and -odons for tooth.

Extraction - the removal of a tooth or teeth.


Filling - a plug made of metal or composite material used to fill a tooth cavity.

Fluoride - a chemical solution used to harden teeth and prevent decay.


Gingivitis - inflammation of gums around the roots of the teeth. This word comes from the Latin word gingiva- which means gums and -itis  which means inflammation.

Gums - the firm flesh that surrounds the roots of the teeth.


Inlay - A porcelain covering that is bonded to the tooth using a special glue. The inlay sits inside of the tooth and does not cover any of the cusps.

 Instant Orthodontics - alternative to braces using bonded porcelain veneers or crowns.


Lateral - these are the teeth adjacent to the centrals.


Malocclusion - a condition where the teeth of the upper and lower jaw do not meet or contact one another correctly. From the French word mal - bad and the dental term occlusion - to not meet correctly.


Night Guard - a plastic mouthpiece worn at night to prevent grinding of the teeth. Often used to treat TMJ.


OnLay -  A porcelain covering that is bonded to the tooth using a special glue. The onlay covers one or more cusps of the tooth.

Orthodontics - a field of dentistry that specializes in the subject of straightening crooked or misaligned teeth. An orthodontist handles malocclusions. From the Greek word ortho- proper or straight and -odons for tooth.

Overlay - A porcelain covering that is bonded to the tooth using a special glue. There are two kinds, an inlay and an onlay.


Pedontist - also known as a pediatric dentist, a dentist that specializes in the treatment of children's teeth.

Periodontal - the "tissue around the teeth". Comes from the Greek word peri- which means around and -odons which means tooth. 

Periodontist - a dentist specializing in the treatment of gum disease.

Plaque - a sticky buildup of acids and bacteria that causes tooth decay.

Porcelain - a ceramic material that is very hard, strong, white and translucent which makes it ideal for creating full or partial artificial teeth. It is used for veneers, overlays and crowns.

Primary Teeth - also known as "baby teeth" or deciduous teeth.

Pulp - this is the soft inner tissue of the tooth that has nerves and blood vessels running through it. It is covered by a layer called Dentin.


Root - the portion of the tooth below your gum line.

Root Canal - cleaning out and filling the inside nerve of a tooth that is heavily decayed so that tooth infection is no longer possible.

Root Planing and Scaling -  Planing means to "make a surface smooth" and Scaling means to "remove calculus from the teeth using instruments". These procedures are applied to the root of the tooth. 


Sealant - plastic coating applied to teeth to fill in ridges thereby creating a smooth tooth. This helps to prevent decay. It is used most commonly for children.

Smile Design - A computer program that uses existing photos of a persons mouth, along with directions from the dentist to create a picture of what the mouth and teeth will look like after performing some cosmetic dental procedures.  


Tartar - see calculus.

Temporomandibular - from Latin tempor- which means temple (the flattened region on each side of the forehead) and the word mandible which comes from the Latin word mandibula - jaw. Simply stated it describes two areas at the side of the head - the temple and the jaw. Where these two areas meet there is a joint.

TMD Temporomandibular Disorders - occur as a result of problems with the jaw, the jaw joint and surrounding facials muscles that control chewing and moving the jaw.

TMJ Syndrome - a disorder associated with the joint of the jaw. Often caused by a misalignment of or a disparity in upper and lower jaw sizes.

Tooth Whitening - a process designed to whiten and brighten teeth.

Trauma - A severe shock or injury to an area.


Veneer - a plastic, porcelain or composite material used to improve the attractiveness of a stained or damaged tooth.


Zoom - A specific technology for whitening or bleaching teeth using a whitening gel and a special light which activates and stimulates the working of the gel.

Irina Rodriguez, D.D.S.

(Serving Ojai, Lake Casitas, Santa Paula, Oxnard, Ventura, Carpinteria)

117 Pirie Rd.

Suite A

Ojai, CA  93023

Phone: (805) 646-3700 Emergency: (805) 415-4478