Dental terminology

Last revised by Andrew Murphy on 06 Jan 2021

There are specific dental terminology to be aware of when describing teeth and dental disease on orthopantomogram or other imaging studies of the teeth or jaw 1.

  • apical: the direction towards the apex of the root of a tooth
  • mesial: the direction towards the anterior midline of the dental arch
  • distal: the direction away from the anterior midline of the dental arch
  • buccal: the surface of the tooth towards the inner aspect of the cheek
  • lingual: the surface of the tooth towards the tongue
  • crown: region of tooth projecting from the bone
  • root: region of tooth embedded within the bone
  • interproximal: between two adjacent teeth

Note a contracture can be made between the above terms for more accurate description (e.g. mesial and buccal can be made into mesiobuccal).

See also

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