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Medical &Dental Terminology

Dr. Wael Mohammed Zakaria Lecturer of Prosthodontics Prosthetic Dental Sciences Department

Medical terminology is a vocabulary for accurately describing the human body and associated components ,conditions, processes and process in a science-based manner. It is to be used in the medical and nursing field. Medical words are like individual jigsaw puzzles. If you divide the terms into their component parts and learn the meaning of the individual part, you can use that knowledge to understand many other new terms


HEMAT/O/LOGY Root (blood)

combining vowel

suffix (study of)

ELECTR/O/CARDI/O/GRAM Root (electricity) Combining vowel

Root (heart)

suffix (record) combining vowel

The combining vowel +the root is called a com bining form

GASTR/O/ENTER/O/LOGY Root (stomach)

Root (intestines)

suffix (study)

The combining forms are: GASTR/O and ENTER/O

GASTR/O/SCOPE Combining form (stomach)

suffix (instrument to visually examine)

GASTR/IC Root (stomach)

suffix (pertaining to)

Combining vowel is dropped when suffix begins with a vowel

GARDI/AC Root(heart)

GASTR/O/ENTER/ITIS Root (stomach)

Suffix (inflammation) Root (intestines)

Combining vowel (O)remains between the two roots, even though the second root (ENTER)begins with a vowel.

. . .

Suffixes are categorized as either (1) needing the com bining form , or (2) not needing the com bining form since they start with a vowel

Many medical terms have a word part attached to the beginning of the term. This called Prefix

SUB/gastr/ic Prefix (below)

TRANS/gastr/ic Prefix (across)

RETRO/gastr/ic Prefix (behind)

Let’s review the important word parts: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

Root—gives the essentials m eaning of the term. Suffix—is the words ending. Prefix—is a small part added to the beginning of a term. Combining vowel—connects roots to suffixes and roots to other roots. Combining form—is the combination of the root and the com bining


Some important rules to remember are: 1. R ead the meaning of medical words from the suffix to the beginning 2. 3.

of the word and then across. Drop the combining vowel before a suffix that starts with a vowel. K eep the combining vowel between word roots,even if the root begins with a vowel.

Suffixes: Suffixes are divided into 2 groups: those that describe diagnoses and those that describe procedures. Diagnostic Suffixes: These suffixes describe disease conditions or their symptoms Noun Suffix







Blood condition









Condition, disease


Procedural Suffixes:





Removal, resection ,excision



Process of visual examination








Dentistry : Is the branch of medicine that is involved in the evaluation ,diagnosis, prevention, and surgical or non-surgical treatment of diseases, disorders and conditions of the oral cavity, maxillofacial area and the adjacent and associated structures and their impact on the human body. Those who practice dentistry are known as dentists

Teeth : are small, calcified, whitish structures found in the jaws (or mouths) of many vertebrates that are used to tear, scrape, and chew food. Some animals, particularly carnivores, also use teeth for hunting or defense. The roots of teeth are covered by gums

Jaw: either of the two bones or bony parts that hold the teeth and frame the mouth in most vertebrates: the mandible (lower jaw) is usually movable, the maxilla (upper jaw) is usually not.

Parts of the tooth:

crown - the visible part of a tooth. root - the anchor of a tooth that extends into the jawbone. The number of roots ranges from one to four.

TOOT H ENA M EL is the hardest of the parts of the tooth and also the hardest of all the tissues of human body. Tooth enamel is a protective tooth structure that covers the exposed part of a tooth, the crown. DENT IN is the tissue below the tooth enamel that forms the main mass of a tooth. It supports the tooth enamel and absorbs the pressure of eating. DENTA L PUL P a soft connective tissue containing nerves and blood vessels, that nourish the tooth. It is the most internal structure of a tooth, surrounded by the dentine. Dental pulp is found in the soft center of the tooth, inside the pulp chamber and the root canal.

CEM ENT UM is the part of tooth anatomy that covers the dentine outside of the root (under the gum line) and it is attached to the bone of the jaw with little elastic fibers. Cementum is hard as bone but not as hard as the tooth enamel. GUM S(gingiva) is the tough pink-colored tissue that covers the bone of the jaw and supports the tooth structure inside the alveolar bone. PER IODONTA L L IGA M ENT is the tissue between the cementum and the alveolar bone. It consists of tough little elastic fibers that keep the tooth attached to the jaw. A LV EOL A R BONE is the bone of the jaw that keeps the tooth in its place, it feeds and protects it. Periodontium is the complex of soft and hard tissues that surround the tooth, keep it in place, feed and protect it. The periodontium consists of cementum, alveolar bone of the maxillae and mandible, periodontal ligament, and gingiva. The internal tooth structure is common in all types of teeth, but the external teeth parts morphology (shape of tooth crown, number and shape of roots) differs significantly between different tooth types.

Types of teeth: The adult human teeth show a morphology mainly differentiated by the shape of their upper surface (crown) and the number of the tooth roots. Individual tooth morphology is associated with the purpose of each tooth type (cutting, shredding or grinding the food).

Incisors — The four front teeth in both your upper and lower jaws (a total of eight) are incisors. The pair of teeth at the center of your mouth, top and bottom, are called the central incisors. And the teeth on each side of the central incisors are the lateral incisors. All the incisors are broad, flat teeth with a narrow edge good for cutting or snipping off pieces of food. They have a single root. Canines — On both sides of your upper and lower incisors are the canines (a total of four). Sometimes called eyeteeth or cuspids, canines are the longest and most stable teeth in the mouth. They are thick and come to a single sharp point. They are ideal for ripping and tearing at foods that might be tough, such as meat, and for piercing and holding. They have a long single root.

Prem olars — Next to each canine are two premolars (a total of eight). Also called bicuspids, premolars are a cross between canines and molars. They have sharp points for piercing and ripping, but they also have a broader surface for chewing and grinding. On the upper jaw, the first premolars (directly next to the canines) have two roots, and the second premolars have one root. On the lower jaw, all premolars have one root. M olars — The last three upper and lower teeth on both sides of your mouth are the molars (a total of 12). They are numbered first, second or third molars depending on their location. Molars are large teeth with broad surfaces designed for crushing, grinding and chewing food. On the upper jaw, the molars have three well-separated roots. On the lower jaw, the molars have two roots.

Central +lateral incisors + canine are called anterior teeth Premolars +molars are called posterior teeth

Different kinds of dentition: People have two sets of dentition in their life-time:

1) T he prim ary dentition(the first set of teeth which com e in ): The first set of teeth known as baby, primary, deciduous or "milk� teeth. they are called deciduous because they fall out (like leaves on a deciduous tree) to make room for the permanent teeth. There are 20 milk teeth, that's each quarter of the mouth counting: 2incisors,1 canine, and 2molars

2) T he secondary dentition(the second group of teeth to com e in): The second set of teeth are known as the permanent or adult teeth. They are called permanent because, if you look after them properly, they stay with you permanently throughout your life. There are up to 32 permanent teeth,that’s 8 in each quarter of the mouth including :2 incisors,1 canine,2 premolars,2 molars and 1wisdom tooth

Dental Term s: M idline line drawn vertically through the center of the face ,passing between the central incisors at their point of contact with each in both the maxilla and the mandible.

M esial Tooth surface facing toward the midline of the dental arch; opposite of distal.

Distal Tooth surface distant from the from the midline; ; opposite of mesial.

Buccal Tooth surface facing the cheek.

L abial Tooth surface facing the lip.

Facial The surface of a tooth directed toward the face (including the buccal and labial surfaces) and opposite the lingual surface. Facial surface equals buccal surface in the posterior + the labial in the anterior.

L ingual Tooth surface facing the tongue.

Occlusion The science of the bite.( how the teeth interdigitate specifically to allow for chewing function.)

Occlusal &incisal surface The surfaces of the premolars and molars which come in contact with those in the opposing jaw during closure are called occlusal surfaces. In incisors and canines ,those surfaces are called incisal surfaces

Extraoral Outside the oral cavity.

Intraoral Inside the mouth.

References: 1. Chabner D. Medical terminology.4th edition. El Sevier Saunders.2005 2. Dentistry Definition, hosted on the American Dental Association website. Page accessed 30 May 2010. This definition was adopted the association's House of Delegates in 1997. 3. 4. 5. 6. pr.3.htm 7. pr.3.html 8. nce/teethandeating/teethandeating_b.swf 9. Wheeler,RussellC.Wheeler’s Dental anatomy ,phisiology and occlusion.W.B.Saunders company.6th edition 10. DENTAL TERMINOLOGY. Advanced Technology Dental Care Center of CupertinoGENERAL AND COSMETIC DENTISTRY


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