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CAD/CAM - Computer -Aided Design/Computer-Aided Manufacturing

calcium - mineral necessary to the formation and maintenance of healthy teeth and bones

calculus - commonly called "tartar," hard substance that forms on teeth due to insufficient plaque control, may be stained brown or yellow

canker sore - whitish mouth sore, usually lasts 10-14 days, may have red "halo"

cantilever bridge - dental bridge that only attaches to teeth on one side

cap - commonly used term for dental crown

caries - common term for tooth decay or "cavities"

cast/model - 3D reproduction used by filling an impression or mold with plaster and allowing it to dry

CAT scan - Computerized Axial Tomography scan, used to determine size, shape, and placement of bone, usually used for implant placement planning

cavity - missing tooth structure caused by decay, abrasion, or erosion

Cavitron - dental tool used in cleaning teeth, uses high-frequency ultrasonic waves

cellulitis - potentially dangerous infection of the soft tissue, characterized by extensive hard swelling

cementum - hard tissue that covers the outer surface of a tooth root

cephalometric imaging - x-ray scan of the head that shows the relative positioning of the face, teeth, and jaws

clasp - acrylic or metal portion of a partial denture that hooks to natural teeth

cleaning/prophylaxis - the removal of plaque and calculus from the teeth above the gumline

cleft palate - congenital deformity that is characterized by a partial or complete lack of fusion of soft and/or hard palate

coil spring - spring used between brackets and archwire to open or close space between teeth

complete denture - set of prosthetic teeth that are used to replace all upper or lower teeth

composite resin - tooth colored material composed of plastic with small particles of ceramic or glass, generally cured with a chemical catalyst or filtered light

coronal - referencing the crown of a tooth

cosmetic dentistry - dental services used to improve appearance, rather than health or function

cross bite - lower teeth lie in front of upper teeth when teeth are closed

crown - may refer to the visible tooth above the gumline or to a prosthetic dental restoration that replaces part or all of a natural tooth

crown lengthening - surgical manipulation of gum tissue to expose more tooth structure, often used in conjunction with other treatment

curettage - the removal of infected tissues from periodontal pocket or bone, often in conjunction with scaling and root planing (deep cleaning)

cusp - pointed or rounded mound on or near the chewing surface of a tooth

cuspid - tooth located between incisors and bicuspids, also known as "eye tooth" or "canine"

cyst - sac of tissue, usually hard or filled with fluid


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