What are the upper and lower sets of teeth are called?

What are the upper and lower sets of teeth are called?

We are searching data for your request:

Forums and discussions:
Manuals and reference books:
Data from registers:
Wait the end of the search in all databases.
Upon completion, a link will appear to access the found materials.

I'd like to know the correct term for the a group of teeth in the skull and jax (mandible) Not the specific types of teeth i.e molars, incisors, carnassials, canines etc but what a set of teeth get referred to. the upper teeth.

Upper teeth: maxillary teeth
Lower teeth: mandibular teeth

The term, "maxillary", is given to teeth in the upper jaw and "mandibular" to those in the lower jaw.

If you search these terms you will find many references. You can start with wikipedia which has many cross references.

5 Things You Should Know About Permanent Dentures

A toothless smile can leave anyone to feel embarrassed and a misfit in society. It can deprive an individual from enjoying the simple pleasures in life, making him feel depressed and miserable. If you one of such people, it’s high time that you lead and enjoy a normal life and restore your winning smile by using permanent dentures. To know about permanent dentures, take a look at this interesting guide listed below.

Biology – All About THE TEETH

A tooth is made up of many parts. A tooth is a small, calcified, whitish structure found in the jaws of many vertebrates and used to break down food. Some animals, particularly carnivores, also use teeth for hunting or for defensive purposes. The roots of the teeth are covered by gums. The outer part of the tooth is called “the Enamel” and it is dentine. A set of clean, strong and healthy teeth can make you look attractive. The teeth are useful for chewing most of the food we eat, there by aiding digestion. They function in mechanically breaking down items of food by cutting and crushing them in preparation for swallowing and digestion.

Dentin supports the enamel on your teeth. It’s a yellow bone-like material that’s softer than enamel and carries some of the nerve fibres that tell you when something is going wrong inside your tooth. The Pulp is the centre of the tooth. It’s a soft tissue that contains blood and lymph vessels, and nerves.

Human beings grow two sets of teeth namely:

  1. The first set is the milk teeth during childhood, it can also be called Temporary Teeth. These are 24 in number.
  2. The second set is called “The Permanent Teeth” and are usually 32 in number.


The types of teeth can be sub-divide into four groups, namely:

  1. The Incisors : These are in the center of the front of the jaw. The sharp, chisel-shaped front teeth (four upper, four lower). They are used for cutting off lumps of food.
  2. The Canines : These are pointed and used for tearing food. They are sometimes called cuspids, these teeth are shaped like points (cusps) and are used for tearing and grasping food.
  3. Pre-molars : These are next to canine. Each has one or more points for cutting. They usually have flat surfaces for grinding food.These teeth have two pointed cusps on their biting surface and are sometimes referred to as bicuspids. The premolars are for crushing and tearing food.
  4. Molars : These are behind the pre-molars. They are similar to the pre-molars. They are only present in the permanent dentition. They are used for grinding and chewing food, these teeth have several cusps on the biting surface to help in this process.


  1. The Crown : The part of the tooth projecting above the gum. The crown is what you see when you smile or open your mouth. It’s the part that sits above your gumline.
  2. The Root : The part buried in the jaw-bone. The root is below the gumline. It makes up about 2/3rds of the tooth’s total length.
  3. The Neck : The space between the crown on the root
  4. The Dentine : The tough center of the which surround and protect the pulp cavity. Dentin supports the enamel on your teeth. It’s a yellow bone-like material that’s softer than enamel and carries some of the nerve fibres that tell you when something is going wrong inside your tooth.
  5. The Pulp cavity : Contains blood vessels and nerve. The Pulp is the centre of the tooth. It’s a soft tissue that contains blood and lymph vessels, and nerves. The pulp is how the tooth receives nourishment and transmits signals to your brain.
  6. The Enamel : A very hard substance which covers the crown of the teeth. The enamel is the durable, white covering. Enamel protects the tooth from the wear and tear of chewing.
  7. The CementumCementum is what covers most of the root of the tooth. It helps to attach the tooth to the bones in your jaw. A cushioning layer called the Periodontal Ligament sits between the cementum and the jawbone. It helps to connect the two.
  8. The Gumline – where the tooth and the gums meet. Without proper brushing and flossing, plaque and tartar can build up at the gumline, leading to gingivitis and gum disease.


These include chewing sticks, tooth brush and tooth pastes

  1. Choose only smooth and clean sticks
  2. Wash the chewing stick thoroughly with clean water before use
  3. Clean the teeth using up and down movement
  4. Wash after use and store properly, preferably in a cell phone paper


Small piece of food left in the mouth after meal can cause tooth problem. It is therefore important that you clean the teeth and mouth everyday and after meals. The following are important when taking care of our teeth/mouth.

How Much Do Conventional Dentures Cost?

The costs of dentures varies depending on its materials and quality.

A conventional denture is what is used when a patient has had all of their teeth removed. The advantage of this method is that gum tissue and the jawbone have time to heal before denture construction begins and that the construction is easier for the dentist at this point.

The downside to conventional dentures is that the patient may have to go without having teeth in their mouth for several weeks. This may be bothersome as it will have an impact on speaking, facial appearance as well as eating to the point where diet changes will be required.

Acrylic dentures can come in a variety of designs and construction methods. These range from:

  • standard acrylic material utilizing traditional methods
  • higher quality and come contoured and stippled to create a more natural appearance along the gumline
  • top-of-the-line acrylic denture that is created with the highest quality materials using injection molding technology. The teeth and gums look natural and are contoured and stippled for a realistic appearance.

Conventional full dentures cost between $1,275 and $2,950 (uppers or lowers).

There may also be a lab fee ranging from between $160 and $210.

How Much Do Upper Dentures Cost?

There is no real pricing distinction for upper dentures alone. The only major difference in the cost of permanent dentures would be if the upper denture was a full plate or a partial. Other than that, cost differences will result from the types of material used in the construction of the denture.

How Much Do Lower Dentures Cost?

Lower dentures cost approximately the same price as uppers simply because the methods and materials used in the construction are the same for lowers as they are for uppers. It is not recommended to have cast metal lowers and acrylic uppers if cost is a factor. Both sets should be of the same style.


The starting point of any smile design is the facial midline, an imaginary vertical line drawn between the front two upper teeth. For optimal esthetic value, the facial midline should be in the middle of the face.

Prominent facial features – such as the eyes, nose and chin – can be misleading when locating the midline. For instance, your eyes may be at slightly different levels, or your nose may be off-center, lessening their usefulness when trying to find the midline. A more accurate approach to determining the facial midline focuses on two facial landmarks: a point between the eyebrows and the Cupid’s bow in the center of the upper lip. By drawing a line between these landmarks, dentists can locate the position of the facial midline while also determining the midline’s direction.

Whenever possible, the midline between the upper front teeth (central incisors) should coincide with the facial midline. In cases where this is not possible, the midline between the central incisors should be perpendicular to the imaginary line that could be drawn through the corners of the mouth.

Types of Dentures & Causes for Treatment

Dentures (false teeth) are synthetic replacements for missing natural teeth. Some dentures are designed to replace a few missing teeth. Other types of dentures replace all of your teeth, gums, and surrounding tissues.

Tooth decay, gum disease, and facial injuries can lead to tooth loss. Depending on how many teeth are lost, dentures may be necessary.

When teeth are missing, facial muscles can sag over time. Dentures are designed to help fill out your facial profile and improve your appearance. They also make it easier to eat, chew, and speak regularly.

Common types of dentures include:

  • Complete (full) dentures are for patients who are missing all of their teeth.
  • Partial removable dentures are for patients who have some missing teeth or those who prefer a removable option.
  • Partial fixed dentures are for patients missing some teeth and those who prefer a non-removable option.
  • Implant retained dentures are for patients who need added retention due to bone loss. Implant dentures provide an anchorage for the teeth to connect to when they are in the mouth. However, they must be removed for cleaning.
  • Immediate (same day) dentures are for patients who want their teeth extracted and dentures installed the same day.

Causes of Tooth Loss

Tooth loss is the main reason people get dentures. There are a few primary causes of tooth loss, including:

    (most common)
  • Tooth extraction
  • Natural aging
  • Poor oral care
  • Severe tooth decay
  • Facial or jaw injury

You are also at a higher risk for tooth loss if:

  • You are older than 35
  • You are male
  • You smoke or use tobacco products
  • You have rheumatoid arthritis
  • You have diabetes or high blood pressure
  • You neglect professional teeth cleanings and exams (every six months)
  • You neglect at-home dental care (brushing twice a day, flossing, and rinsing with mouthwash)

Types of Dentures

There are many different types of dentures available. The type of denture that is best for you depends on your oral health status and lifestyle. The most common types of false teeth include:

Complete Dentures

Complete dentures, also known as full dentures, are removable replacements for a patient’s entire set of teeth. They are completely customized and restore the shape and look of natural teeth.

Conventional dentures also improve mastication, which means you can crush, grind, and eat food normally again.

If your chewing functions were normal before denture placement, the functions will be much less than with natural teeth or implants. The lack of anchorage in the bone means you are not able to produce as much chewing force.

Many patients also develop speech impediments, such as a lisp, with complete dentures. This is due to the thickness of the material covering the palate (which is necessary and cannot be thinned). Some people adapt to it over time, while others do not.

Complete dentures are the last option after all other tooth restorations are deemed ineffective. False teeth do not prevent bone shrinkage, and sometimes, poorly fitting teeth can contribute to it. Only a dental implant will preserve the bone and prevent it from shrinking after tooth loss.

Candidates for complete dentures include:

  • Elderly patients — a “complete edentulous situation” (lack of teeth) is most common in elderly people (65+). This is because tooth loss relates to age, especially geriatric patients (those with diseases and problems due to old age).
  • Younger patients — in rare cases, young patients may also be candidates for complete dentures. This is only the case if they lost all of their teeth due to an injury or severe tooth decay.

Fixed Partial Dentures (Implant-Supported Bridge)

Fixed partial dentures (FPD), also called implant-supported bridges, use existing teeth as abutments. Abutments refer to the surrounding teeth that serve as the main support for the denture.

FPD's replace a few missing teeth in a row with two dental implants.

Unlike complete and removable partial false teeth, implant-supported bridges are not removable. These permanent dentures restore one or more missing teeth in a row when strong natural teeth are present on both sides of the missing ones.

Advantages of fixed partial dentures:

  • Improved aesthetics
  • Patients typically feel more secure with fixed (permanent) dentures
  • Stronger than removable false teeth
  • Consistent tooth positioning and better bite
  • Longer protection of the oral structure

Disadvantages of fixed partial dentures:

  • Irreversible replacement of surrounding teeth (abutments)
  • Abutments are more at risk of decay
  • Risk of injuries to the periodontium and dental pulp
  • Replacement cost is higher than removable dentures

Removable Partial Dentures

Unlike complete dentures that replace all teeth, removable partial dentures (RPD) only replace some missing teeth.

An RPD consists of replacement teeth attached to a gum-colored plastic base.

Removable partial dentures are built onto a cast metal framework for strength. They restore the natural look, feel, and function of your teeth.

RPD’s can be removed at any time and replaced easily. They are most commonly recommended for patients who cannot get a dental bridge (implant-supported bridge).

There are two types of removable partial dentures available, including:

  • Cast partial dentures — cast partial dentures are made of tissue-colored acrylic (gums), replacement teeth, and a metal framework that holds all of the materials together. Dentists recommend these dentures when one or more natural teeth remain in the lower or upper jaw.
  • Acrylic partial dentures — acrylic partial dentures, also known as “flippers,” are made of acrylic resin and mimic the look and function of natural teeth. They come with or without clasps of wrought wire. Acrylic false teeth are temporary because a patient’s gums entirely support the teeth. Long-term use can lead to gingival recession.

Implant-Retained Dentures (Overdentures)

Implant-retained dentures, also called overdentures, do not permanently attach to dental implants. They click into place and latch onto the abutments (metal posts). Implant dentures support more than one tooth and, oftentimes, an entire set of teeth.

Implant-retained dentures increase stability and improve chewing function better than traditional dentures. However, you must remove them every night for cleaning and tissue rest.

Types of implant retained dentures:

  • Ball attachment or locator-attached — an implant-retained option that replaces permanent lower teeth.
  • Bar attachment — a bar-shaped implant that supports a full set of false teeth in the lower jaw.

Benefits of implant-retained dentures:

  • They last a long time
    They provide a functioning set of natural-looking teeth with more comfortability
  • They provide better natural biting and chewing surfaces

Immediate Dentures

In traditional dentures, after all of a patient’s teeth are extracted, they must wait at least 6 to 8 weeks before false teeth are placed.

This gives the extraction site and jawbone enough time to heal.

Removable immediate dentures can be used directly after your natural teeth are extracted. Although convenient, immediate dentures are more challenging than traditional dentures because they are not molded specifically to the gums.

Types of immediate dentures include:

  • Conventional immediate dentures — removable artificial teeth that are created for immediate use after natural tooth extractions. They are also made from the same materials as conventional or traditional dentures.
  • Interim immediate dentures — removable artificial teeth designed to improve aesthetics and facial appearance. They also improve oral function for a short period of time before the placement of definitive false teeth. However, interim false teeth usually consist of flimsier material because they are only used temporarily.

Snap-In Dentures

Snap-in dentures, also called snap-on dentures, are other names for removable implant-supported overdentures. Snap-on dentures are held in place by dental implants that are screwed into your jawbone. In most cases, two to four implants keep the denture in place. However, up to 10 implants can be inserted.

After the implants are surgically inserted into the bone, you can snap on the implant-supported denture. The overdenture can be removed at any time, but the implants cannot.

How are Dentures Made?

After you are fitted for dentures, it will take the dental lab a few weeks to make them. You will also have to set up a few different appointments with your dentist or prosthodontist (a teeth replacement specialist).

In general, the denture fabrication process consists of 10 steps:

  1. Your dentist will take impressions and measurements of your jaw/teeth.
  2. A plaster model of your mouth is created using the impressions.
  3. The model is placed on an articulator (a mechanical device that represents your jaw). This allows the technician to attach the teeth with wax.
  4. After placing the fake teeth, the denture technician will carve and shape the wax to create realistic gum tissue.
  5. Then the dentures are placed in a flask (holding device). More plaster is poured onto the denture to maintain its shape.
  6. The flask is placed in boiling water, which rinses away any leftover wax.
  7. The technician injects acrylic into the flask to replace the wax. To ensure the acrylic doesn't stick, they will apply a liquid separator onto the plaster.
  8. The plaster mold is carefully broken off of the denture and any remaining plaster is removed.
  9. The technician will then trim any excess acrylic and polish it.
  10. The dentures are sent back to your dentist, where you will set up an appointment for a fitting. Any adjustments are made (if necessary).

Who Makes & Fits Dentures?

Two types of dentists offer dentures:

General Dentists

General dentists make dentures. They also offer preventive and restorative services, such as x-rays, teeth cleanings, cavity fillings, and sealants.

Unlike specialists, who focus on one specific area of dentistry, general dentists offer a wide range of treatments for people of all ages.


Prosthodontists are the main providers of dentures. They specialize in many different tooth replacement procedures.

Who is a Candidate for Dentures?

Men and women with significant tooth loss are candidates for dentures. False teeth are not dependent on age, but more so on the condition of the patient's teeth.

It is also important for a patient to have enough jawbone structure and healthy gum tissue remaining. False teeth need a sufficient amount of support from natural tissue to remain in place for a long period of time.

The most common age group that has false teeth are people over 65 years of age. Needing dentures over age 40 is also fairly common, especially in women.

Nineteen percent of women over 40 are denture wearers. Twenty-seven percent of seniors over 65 have no remaining teeth.

How to Clean & Care for Your Dentures

  • At night, gently brush the dentures with a soft denture brush to remove plaque. While brushing, removable dentures should be held over the sink with a small washcloth. This washcloth acts as a cushion if they drop. It is common for false teeth to break if dropped into the sink, on the counter, or on the floor.
  • Soak them in a commercial denture-cleansing liquid overnight.
  • In the morning, brush them again and wear them throughout the day.
  • They can be soaked overnight in white vinegar diluted with water to remove calculus or to prevent the formation of calculus. Full-strength vinegar is acidic and can damage the surface of the teeth, causing acid erosion.

Properly taking care of your false teeth ensures your gums, jawbone, and artificial teeth stay healthy long-term.

Dental plaque buildup on false teeth can lead to bone loss, bad breath, and stomatitis (inflammation of the soft tissue lining inside of the mouth).

Another risk factor of uncleaned dentures is a fungal infection called oral thrush. To prevent these conditions, it is essential to practice proper denture care.

Tips for Getting Used to Dentures

Here are some tips for adjusting to new dentures:

1. Follow Your Post-Op Instructions

Your dentist or prosthodontist will provide you with aftercare instructions after placement. Make sure you follow these instructions carefully to ensure proper healing and comfort.

If you have removable dentures, refrain from removing them too often. It's essential to wear them throughout the day so you can get used to them quickly.

2. Only Eat Soft Foods at First

For the first few days post-op, you should only eat soft foods to prevent additional discomfort.

3. Practice Speaking & Exercise Facial Muscles

Practice speaking out loud to exercise your facial muscles and prevent any unwanted speech issues. Singing can also help you get used to forming words.

4. Brush Your Dentures and Gums

Brush your dentures and gums regularly to prevent bacteria buildup and bad breath.

5. Use Denture Adhesive When Necessary

Denture adhesive can be used to soothe any irritation caused by new dentures. However, if you notice that your dentures aren't fitting properly, set up an appointment with your dentist. Adhesives cannot fix poorly-fitted dentures.

When Should You Repair or Replace Dentures?

Dentures typically need to be replaced every 10 years (if you take care of them properly). Just like natural teeth, dentures become discolored over time. If your dentures chip or crack, they might only need a minor repair. However, if they break, you'll need to replace them quickly.

Cost of Dentures & Insurance Coverage

Most full dental insurance policies cover up to 50 percent of the cost of dentures. According to Carefree Dental, the cost depends on the chosen type and individual insurance coverage policies:

Complete Dentures$1,300-$3,000 (upper or lower, not both)
Temporary (Immediate) Dentures$1,500-$3,200 (upper or lower, not both)
Partial Removable Dentures$650-$2,500 (upper or lower, not both)
Implant-Retained Dentures (Overdentures)$1,500-$4,000 (upper or lower, not both)
Snap-In Dentures$1,500-$4,000 (upper or lower, not both)

Common Questions & Answers

How much are partial dentures?

Partial dentures cost $650 to $2,500 for an upper or lower denture, not both.

Does Medicare cover dentures?

No, Medicare does not cover dentures or other dental devices, such as partial plates. Generally, Medicare does provide dental coverage.

Medicare Advantage plans sold through private insurance companies may provide coverage for dentures and other dental health care.

Does Medicaid cover dentures?

Medicaid coverage varies by state. This document detailing Medicaid Adult Dental Benefits from the Center for Health Care Strategies Inc. provides an overview.

Contact your state's Medicaid department for more information.

What are dentures made of?

Dentures are usually made of acrylic, metal, nylon, and/or plastic.

How do you clean dentures?

At night, gently brush the dentures with a soft denture brush to remove plaque. Soak them in a commercial denture cleanser liquid overnight.

In the morning, brush them again before you insert them. They can be soaked overnight in white vinegar diluted with water to remove calculus and prevent the formation of calculus.

Full-strength vinegar is acidic and can damage the surface of your teeth, causing acid erosion.

Are there any alternatives to dentures?

There are two alternatives to dentures, including dental bridges and dental implants.

Full mouth dental implants provide a permanent full-arch restoration using four implant placement points. These implants can replace failing or missing teeth, whether in the upper jaw, lower jaw, or both. However, full mouth implants are expensive (ranging up to $25,000 per jaw).

Are dentures worn all day?

Fixed dentures should be worn throughout the day but taken out at night.

Can you eat with dentures?

Yes, you can eat with dentures in your mouth. It may be difficult to eat at first. You will get used to them over time.

Do dentures change the way you speak?

Dentures can change the way you speak at first. However, you will adjust to them.

Your voice may also sound different (but only to you). This is because the sound travels to your ears through vibrations in the skull and jaw. Dentures increase this sound, but only you will notice the change.

Do dentures change the way you look?

Dentures change the appearance of your smile. If you had many missing teeth, especially in the front, dentures will improve your self-confidence.

Can I get my teeth pulled and dentures on the same day?

You can only get temporary dentures (immediate dentures) placed directly after extraction. You'll have to go back in to get your permanent dentures once they are ready.

When should I use a denture adhesive?

If your dentures do not fit properly, you can use denture adhesive to keep them in place temporarily.

How often should I see my dentist if I have dentures?

After you adjust to your new dentures, you'll need to visit your dentist at least twice a year for routine check-ups. This is the same for patients who don't have dentures.

What do new dentures feel like?

Your dentures may feel bulky and uncomfortable at first. This is normal and will get better over time as you adjust to the new restoration. Many patients also experience speaking, chewing, and eating difficulties during the first few weeks. Extra saliva flow is also common.

An adult human being has thirty two teeth and all these have their names which are given based on their class, set, arch, side and type. There are 2 set of teeth in human beings, one set is initial or baby teeth and actual or adult teeth. The set of teeth that changes initial teeth [&hellip]

Before you next go to the dentist, it is vital to know the makeup of your teeth. The initial function of human teeth is to support digest food by breaking it down and chewing it. Teeth are also vital for ensuring actual speech, and they can be indicators of health issues elsewhere in the body. [&hellip]


Deglutition is another word for swallowing&mdashthe movement of food from the mouth to the stomach. The entire process takes about 4 to 8 seconds for solid or semisolid food, and about 1 second for very soft food and liquids. Although this sounds quick and effortless, deglutition is, in fact, a complex process that involves both the skeletal muscle of the tongue and the muscles of the pharynx and esophagus. It is aided by the presence of mucus and saliva. There are three stages in deglutition: the voluntary phase, the pharyngeal phase, and the esophageal phase. The autonomic nervous system controls the latter two phases.

Figure 8. Deglutition includes the voluntary phase and two involuntary phases: the pharyngeal phase and the esophageal phase.

The Voluntary Phase

The voluntary phase of deglutition (also known as the oral or buccal phase) is so called because you can control when you swallow food. In this phase, chewing has been completed and swallowing is set in motion. The tongue moves upward and backward against the palate, pushing the bolus to the back of the oral cavity and into the oropharynx. Other muscles keep the mouth closed and prevent food from falling out. At this point, the two involuntary phases of swallowing begin.

The Pharyngeal Phase

In the pharyngeal phase, stimulation of receptors in the oropharynx sends impulses to the deglutition center (a collection of neurons that controls swallowing) in the medulla oblongata. Impulses are then sent back to the uvula and soft palate, causing them to move upward and close off the nasopharynx. The laryngeal muscles also constrict to prevent aspiration of food into the trachea. At this point, deglutition apnea takes place, which means that breathing ceases for a very brief time. Contractions of the pharyngeal constrictor muscles move the bolus through the oropharynx and laryngopharynx. Relaxation of the upper esophageal sphincter then allows food to enter the esophagus.

The Esophageal Phase

The entry of food into the esophagus marks the beginning of the esophageal phase of deglutition and the initiation of peristalsis. As in the previous phase, the complex neuromuscular actions are controlled by the medulla oblongata. Peristalsis propels the bolus through the esophagus and toward the stomach. The circular muscle layer of the muscularis contracts, pinching the esophageal wall and forcing the bolus forward. At the same time, the longitudinal muscle layer of the muscularis also contracts, shortening this area and pushing out its walls to receive the bolus. In this way, a series of contractions keeps moving food toward the stomach. When the bolus nears the stomach, distention of the esophagus initiates a short reflex relaxation of the lower esophageal sphincter that allows the bolus to pass into the stomach. During the esophageal phase, esophageal glands secrete mucus that lubricates the bolus and minimizes friction.

Watch this animation to see how swallowing is a complex process that involves the nervous system to coordinate the actions of upper respiratory and digestive activities. During which stage of swallowing is there a risk of food entering respiratory pathways and how is this risk blocked?

Glossary of terms

The stage of orthodontic treatment when teeth are being moved and/or jaws aligned.

Advanced periodontitis

The most severe form of gum (periodontal) disease, once known as pyorrhea. It is a chronic infection of the gums caused by accumulation of plaque under the gum line. The plaque contains bacteria that produce toxins that destroy the soft tissue and bone that hold teeth in place. Pockets (spaces between the gum and the teeth) appear and deepen. Gums recede, and bone dissolves. Teeth can become loose and may have to be removed.


Clear removable appliances that are used to straighten teeth.

American Association of Orthodontists (AAO)

The AAO is a professional association of educationally qualified orthodontic specialists who create healthy, beautiful smiles for their patients. The AAO only admits orthodontists as members. Orthodontists first graduate from dental school and then complete an additional two to three years of education in the orthodontic specialty at accredited orthodontic residency programs. Selecting an AAO member for orthodontic care is your assurance that the doctor is an orthodontist.


Any device, attached to the teeth or removable, designed to move the teeth, change the position of the jaw, or hold the teeth in their finished positions after braces or aligners are removed.


The metal wire that is attached to the brackets and used to move the teeth.


The tooth-colored “bumps” placed on teeth during clear aligner treatment. They help move the teeth while a patient wears aligners. They are removed once treatment is complete.



A metal ring, usually on a back tooth, that is cemented to a tooth for strength and anchorage.


How top and bottom teeth come together. Ideally, each tooth meets its opposite tooth in a way that promotes functions such as biting, chewing and speaking. A bad bite is called a malocclusion . The goal of orthodontic treatment is to create an individualized healthy bite (ability to bite, chew, speak). When teeth and jaws are in proper positions, it creates a pleasing appearance.

Blue Grass Appliance

Used to help in the correction of a tongue thrust. Helps the patient retrain the tongue when swallowing, and can help correct an open bite.

Board-Certified Orthodontist

An orthodontist who has completed the American Board of Orthodontics Specialty Certification exams. A board-certified orthodontist is known as Diplomate of the American Board of Orthodontics. The American Board of Orthodontics is the only orthodontic specialty certifying board that is recognized by the American Dental Association. Board certification is voluntary for orthodontists.


A word commonly used to describe a fixed orthodontic appliance, usually comprised of brackets, bands and wires.


The small metal, ceramic, or plastic attachment bonded to each tooth with a tooth-colored adhesive. The bracket has a slot that the orthodontic wire fits into.


A replacement for a missing natural tooth/teeth that fills the opening between adjacent teeth. Most often, the existing adjacent teeth receive crowns and a prosthetic (false) tooth is attached to the crowns. This restores function , provides a good appearance, and maintains the shape of the face. Bridges do not last forever, eventually this will require replacement.


Brushing the teeth is part of an individual’s daily home dental care. Patients with braces should follow the orthodontist’s instruction on how often to brush.


Grinding of the teeth, usually during sleep. Bruxism can cause abnormal tooth wear and may lead to pain in the jaw joints, facial and/or neck muscles and difficulty opening and closing the mouth.


A term orthodontists use to describe the cheek side of the back teeth in both jaws.

Buccal Tube

A small metal part of the bracket welded to the cheek side of the molar band. The tube may hold an archwire, lip bumper, headgear facebow or other type of appliance an orthodontist may use to move the teeth.


Cephalometric Radiograph

A side view x-ray of the head.


A stretchable series of elastic o-rings connected together and placed around each bracket to hold the archwire in place and close the spaces between teeth.

Class I Malocclusion

A malocclusion in which the back molars meet properly, but the front teeth may appear to be crowded together, spaced apart, there my be an overbite, an openbite, a posterior (back) crossbite or an anterior (front) crossbite.

Class II Malocclusion

A malocclusion where the upper front teeth are protruding, or the lower teeth and/or jaw is positioned back relative to the upper teeth and/or jaw.

Class III Malocclusion

A malocclusion where the lower teeth and/or jaw is positioned ahead relative to the upper teeth and/or jaw.

Closed Bite/Deep Bite

Also known as deep overbite, this occurs when the upper front teeth overlap the bottom front teeth an excessive amount.

Comprehensive Treatment

Complete orthodontic treatment performed to correct a malocclusion.

Cone Beam CT/CBCT
Congenitally Missing Teeth

A genetic occurrence in which permanent teeth do not develop.

Upper back teeth are in crossbite if they erupt and contact inside or outside of the lower back teeth. Lower front teeth are in crossbite if they erupt in front of the upper front teeth. A crossbite can be a single tooth or groups of teeth.

  1. The part of the tooth that is visible above the gums.
  2. A tooth restoration placed by a dentist. A crown covers a tooth that may have had severe decay, was badly discolored, or was broken or otherwise misshapen. The crown covers the entire tooth and functions as a replacement for the natural tooth. Crowns can last for many years, but they are not permanent.



DDS (Doctor of Dental Surgery) and DMD (Doctor of Dental Medicine) are degrees awarded to dental school graduates. Some dental schools award DDS, and some dental schools award DMD. The American Dental Association considers them equivalent degrees. All orthodontists educated in the U.S. or Canada will have either a DDS or DMD after their names. Orthodontists, who are also known as “orthodontic specialists,” are required to follow their dental school education with the completion of two to three years of orthodontic specialty education in an accredited orthodontic residency program. This additional education makes orthodontists specialists in the field of orthodontics.


White marks on the teeth that can become cavities in the future. They are caused by poor brushing, and the consumption of sugary and acidic drinks.


Practicing general dentists are healthcare professionals concerned with overall oral health. Dentists treat decayed teeth (fillings) and remove failed teeth (extractions). They usually provide services such as crowns, veneers or bonding to improve the appearance and function of teeth that have extensive decay, or are misshapen or broken. Dentists look for abnormalities in the mouth and teach patients how to prevent dental disease.

Diagnostic Records

The materials and information that the orthodontist needs to properly diagnose a malocclusion and plan a patient’s treatment. Diagnostic records may include a thorough patient health history, a visual examination of the teeth and supporting structures, an electronic scan or plaster models of the teeth, extraoral and intraoral photographs, as well as a panoramic and cephalometric x-rays.


Ectopic Eruption

Term used to describe a tooth or teeth that erupt in an abnormal position.


Rubber bands. During certain stages of treatment, small elastics or rubber bands are worn to provide individual tooth movement or jaw alignment.


The hard, white outer layer of a tooth, and the hardest substance in the human body. Enamel makes it possible to bite and chew. If enamel breaks away from a tooth, or is worn away due to abnormal forces generated by a bad bite (or malocclusion) , it is gone forever. Enamel does not regenerate.


The process by which teeth enter into the mouth.

Essix Retainer

A removable retainer made of a clear, plastic-like material.


An orthodontic appliance that can widen the jaws.

Extraoral Photographs

Photographs taken of the face from the front and side views.



An orthodontic appliance worn with orthodontic headgear, used primarily to move the upper first molars back, creating room for crowded or protrusive front teeth. The facebow has an internal wire bow and an external wire bow.


A surgical procedure designed to cut part of the gum tissue around teeth, usually performed to reduce the chance of relapse or post-orthodontic tooth movement.

Fixed Appliances

An orthodontic appliance that is bonded or cemented to the teeth and cannot be or should not be removed by the patient.


An important part of daily home dental care. Flossing removes plaque and food debris from between the teeth, brackets and wires. Flossing keeps teeth and gums clean and healthy during orthodontic treatment.

Forsus Spring

An orthodontic appliance made of a fixed spring mechanism that moves the lower jaw forward, usually to correct an overjet (protruding upper teeth). It can also be used as an anchor for other types of movements.


The tissue attachment between the lip and the tongue or the lip and the upper jaw. A large frenum can cause spacing between the front teeth or cause the tongue to be “tied.” A large frenum can also cause the gum tissue on the lower front teeth to be pulled down.


The surgical removal or repositioning of the frenum.


Refers to biting, chewing and speaking. Teeth and jaws in their correct positions facilitate proper function.

Functional Appliances

A type of orthodontic appliance that uses jaw movement and muscle action to place selective force on the teeth and jaws. They are usually removable. They are also known as orthopedic appliances with names such as orthopedic corrector, activator, bionator, Frankel, Herbst or twin block appliances.



Soft tissue around the teeth, also known as the gums.


The mildest type of gum (periodontal) disease, usually caused by poor dental hygiene that allows a build-up of plaque and subsequent inflammation in the gums . Symptoms include red and/or swollen gums, and bleeding when you brush or floss. Gingivitis can be reversed with professional treatment and good dental care at home. If left untreated it may progress to periodontitis.

Growth Modification

Placing braces or appliances to help modify and correct the growth of the jaws and teeth.

Gum disease

Another name for periodontitis. A chronic infection of the gums that stems from a build-up of plaque (link to glossary) . Also called periodontal disease. Untreated gum disease can lead to tooth loss. Patients having orthodontic treatment need to remove plaque frequently by brushing their teeth after meals/snacks and before bed, and by flossing at least once a day. There are three stages of gum disease: gingivitis , periodontitis and advanced periodontitis . Many people are unaware that they have gum disease because there is little or no pain.

Gummy Smile

Showing an excessive amount of gingival (gum) tissue above the front teeth when smiling.


Hawley Retainer

A removable retainer made of wire and a hard plastic-like material.


An appliance worn outside of the mouth to provide traction for growth modification and tooth movement.

Herbst Appliance

This appliance is used to move the lower jaw forward. It can be fixed or removable. When it is fixed, it is cemented to teeth in one or both arches using stainless steel crowns. An expansion screw may be used to widen the upper jaw at the same time.

Holding/Lingual Arch

Bands on upper or lower molars are connected using a bar behind teeth used to maintain space.



A tooth that does not erupt into the mouth or only erupts partially is considered impacted.


An artificial replacement for a missing tooth/teeth. The process involves placing a metal post in the jawbone.. A crown is placed on the implant so that the patient is able to bite, chew and speak. Implants can be used to anchor a single tooth or multiple teeth. An orthodontist can create space or hold space open in the mouths of patients who may need implants to achieve good dental function. Dental implants cannot be moved by conventional orthodontic forces.

Interceptive Treatment

Orthodontic treatment performed to intercept or correct a developing problem. Usually performed on younger patients that have a mixture of primary (baby) teeth and permanent teeth. Sometimes called Preventive or Phase I treatment.

Intraoral Photographs

Photographs taken of the inside of the mouth, usually showing the biting surfaces of the teeth and sides of the mouth while biting down.

Interproximal Brush

A tiny brush used to reach between teeth, and between teeth and braces, to remove plaque and food debris.

Interproximal Reduction

Removal of a small amount of enamel from between the teeth to reduce their width. Also known as reproximation, slenderizing, stripping, polishing, enamel reduction or selective reduction.



The surface of the teeth in both jaws that faces the lips.

Ligating Modules

A small elastic o-ring, shaped like a donut, used to hold the archwire in the bracket.


A tiny rubber band, or sometimes a very thin wire, that holds the orthodontic wire in the bracket slot/brace.


The tongue side of the teeth in both jaws.

Lip Bumper

An orthodontic appliance used to move the lower molars back and the lower front teeth forward, creating room for crowded front teeth. The lower lip muscles apply pressure to the bumper creating a force that moves the molars back.

Lip Incompetence

The inability to close the lips together at rest, usually due to protrusive front teeth or an excessively long face.



Latin for “bad bite.” The term used in orthodontics to describe teeth that do not fit together properly.

MARA Appliance

An appliance used to bring the lower jaw forward to correct an overjet.

Mixed Dentition

The dental developmental stage in children (approximately ages 6-12) when they have a mix of primary (baby) and permanent teeth.


A removable device used to protect the teeth and mouth from injury caused by sporting activities. The use of a mouthguard is especially important for orthodontic patients.



A removable appliance worn at night to help an individual minimize the damage or wear that occurs while clenching or grinding teeth during sleep.



Latin for “bite.” In orthodontics, occlusion describes how the upper and lower teeth meet.

Open Bite

A malocclusion in which teeth do not make contact with each other. With an anterior open bite, the front teeth do not touch when the back teeth are closed together. With a posterior open bite, the back teeth do not touch when the front teeth are closed together.


A tiny, o-shaped rubber band that is used as a ligature and holds the archwire to bracket slots. O-rings come in a variety of colors, and are generally changed at each adjustment appointment.


The specialty area of dentistry concerned with the diagnosis, supervision, guidance and correction of malocclusions. The formal name of the specialty is orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics.


A specialist in the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of dental and facial irregularities. Orthodontists are required to complete college requirements, graduate from an accredited dental school and then successfully complete a minimum of two years of full-time study at an accredited orthodontic residency program. Only those who have completed this education may call themselves “orthodontists.” Orthodontists limit their scope of practice to orthodontic treatment. Only orthodontists may be members of the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO).

Orthognathic surgery

Also called surgical orthodontics, orthognathic surgery is corrective jaw surgery performed to remedy skeletal problems that affect the ability to bite, chew and speak. Orthodontic treatment is done before and after surgery so that upper and lower teeth meet appropriately.

Orthopedic Appliance

A removable functional appliance designed to guide the growth of the jaws and face.


The upper front teeth excessively overlap the bottom front teeth when back teeth are closed. Also called a closed bite or deep bite.


Protruding upper front teeth. Sometimes called buck teeth.


Panoramic Radiograph

An x-ray that shows all the teeth and both jaws at once.

Palatal Expander

A fixed or removable orthodontic appliance used to make the upper jaw wider.

Periodontal Disease

A chronic infection of the gums that stems from a build-up of plaque , may times there is little or no pain Also called gum disease. Untreated gum disease can lead to tooth loss. Patients having orthodontic treatment need to remove plaque frequently by brushing their teeth after meals/snacks and before bed, and by flossing at least once a day. There are three stages of periodontal disease: gingivitis , periodontitis and advanced periodontitis .

Periodontal Tissue

Refers to the hard and soft tissue, or supporting structures, around the teeth.


A more serious form of gum (periodontal) disease as compared to gingivitis. It is a chronic infection caused by an accumulation of plaque under the gum line. The bacteria in plaque produce toxins that lead to destruction of the soft tissue and bone that hold teeth in place. Pockets (spaces between the gum and the teeth) form. Unless treated professionally in conjunction with careful home care, the disease process will continue to break down tissues.

Phase One (Phase I) Treatment

Orthodontic treatment performed to intercept or correct a developing problem. Usually performed on younger patients that have a mixture of primary (baby) teeth and permanent teeth. Sometimes called Preventive or Interceptive treatment.


Plaque is a colorless, sticky film which is a mixture of bacteria, food particles and saliva that constantly forms in the mouth. Plaque combines with sugars to form an acid that endangers teeth and gums. Plaque causes cavities, white marks (decalcification) and gum disease. Plaque is removed by brushing and flossing.

Power chain

Interconnected elastic ligatures that are stretched across multiple teeth, holding the archwire to bracket slots. Orthodontists use power chains for some patients during specific times during their treatment to apply additional forces to move teeth.

Preventive Treatment

Orthodontic treatment to prevent or reduce the severity of a developing malocclusion (bad bite). Also called Interceptive or Phase I treatment.

Primary Teeth

Baby teeth. Also called deciduous or milk teeth.



Also called an x-ray, a radiograph is diagnostic tool that is used to see inside the body. Orthodontists take a panoramic radiographs to see a complete horizontal image of a patient’s upper and lower teeth. A cephalometric radiograph is a side view of a patient’s head.

Removable Appliance

An orthodontic appliance that can be removed from the mouth by the patient. Removable appliances are used to move teeth, align jaws and to keep teeth in their new positions when the braces are removed (retainers).


A fixed or removable appliance worn after braces are removed or aligner therapy is complete. A retainer is fitted to upper and/or lower teeth to hold them in their finished positions. When worn as prescribed, retainers are the best tool available to minimize unwanted tooth movement after active treatment ends.

Rubber Bands

During certain stages of treatment, small elastics (rubber bands) are worn to provide individual tooth movement or jaw alignment.


Safety Strap

The safety strap prevents the facebow of the headgear from coming loose and causing injury.


An elastic o-ring or small wire loop placed between the teeth to create space for placement of orthodontic bands. Separators are usually placed between the teeth a week before bands are scheduled to be placed on the teeth.

Self-Ligating Brackets

Brackets that have a “door” on the front that holds the orthodontic wire to the bracket. With self-ligating brackets, an elastic ring is not needed to hold the orthodontic wire to the bracket.

Serial Extraction

Selective or guided removal of certain primary (baby) teeth and/or permanent teeth over a period of time to create room, reduce crowding and create a better environment for the permanent teeth to erupt.

Skeletal maturity

A time when an individual has stopped growing, and bones have reached their full development.


Tiny elastics (rubber bands) that are inserted between molars. Spacers are placed one or two weeks before getting braces to create space between molars if molar bands will be used as part of the orthodontic appliance . Occasionally, spacers fall out before braces are placed.

Space Maintainer

A fixed appliance used to hold space for an unerupted permanent tooth after a primary (baby) tooth has been lost prematurely, due to accident or decay.


In dentistry, being a specialist usually requires:

  • General education – completing college requirements (usually four years) followed by a four-year program (usually) leading to a DDS or DMD in dentistry
  • Specialty education – successful completion of two or more years (usually) of additional education in an accredited program in the chosen specialty area (such orthodontics in dentistry). Thus the doctor’s experience is focused on the area of specialization

Orthodontists are the dental profession’s specialists in the field of orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics. Nine dental specialties are recognized by the National Commission on Recognition of Dental Specialties and Certifying Boards. After dental school, those who intend to be orthodontists must be accepted by, and successfully complete, an accredited orthodontic residency program lasting two years or longer (minimum of 3,700 hours). There are about 15 applications for each opening in an accredited orthodontic program. Those who attain this level of formal education may call himself/herself an orthodontist. Only orthodontists are admitted for membership in the American Association of Orthodontists.

Supernumerary Teeth

A genetic occurrence in which there are more teeth than the usual number. These teeth can be malformed or erupt abnormally. These teeth can also interfere with the normal pattern of tooth eruption and contribute to an orthodontic problem. Supernumerary teeth often need to be removed.


Tandem Appliance

An appliance used to bring the top jaw forward and the bottom jaw back.

Temporary Anchorage Device (TAD)

A miniature surgical screw that resembles an earring stud when it is in place. Positioned in gum and bone tissue, a TAD is used as an anchor – a fixed point from which to apply the force needed to move teeth in a direction that braces alone cannot move them. The TAD is removed when it is no longer needed.


Another word for “ligature” or “ligating module.” Usually a tiny rubber band that holds the orthodontic wire in the bracket slot. These come in a variety of colors, ranging from demure to bold.

Tongue Crib

A fixed orthodontic appliance used to help a patient stop habits or undesirable tongue forces exerted on the teeth and bone that supports the teeth.

Tongue Thrust

A habit where an individual’s tongue pushes against the teeth when swallowing. This type of force generated by the tongue can move the teeth and bone and may lead to an anterior or posterior open bite.



The lower front teeth or jaw sit ahead of the upper front teeth or jaw. Also known as a Class III malocclusion.



A thin, tooth-colored shell that is glued to the fronts of teeth to improve their appearance. A veneer can cover up a discolored or broken tooth. Veneers cannot correct malocclusions (misaligned teeth and/or jaws). However, veneers can be easier to place and last longer after an individual has had orthodontic treatment and teeth are properly positioned.



Orthodontic wax is placed on the brackets or archwires to prevent them from irritating the lips or cheeks.


Also known as archwires, they are held to brackets using small elastic o-rings (rubber bands), stainless steel wire ligatures, or by a door on a self-ligating bracket. Wires are used to move the teeth.



Also called a radiograph, an x-ray is diagnostic tool that is used to see inside the body. Orthodontists take a panoramic x-rays to see a complete horizontal image of a patient’s upper and lower teeth. A cephalometric x-ray is a side view of a patient’s head.

Feral Hog Tusk Characteristics

The tusks of feral hogs (also called wild hogs Sus scrofa) have long been a physical feature of these animals that has garnered significant interest from both the sport-hunting and general publics. These teeth, technically called canine teeth (as they are in all mammals that have them), have both deciduous (i.e., temporary, “baby” or “milk”) and permanent sets. The permanent tusks, especially in boars, represent a major element of the trophy quality of a feral hog. It is also the single element of the feral hog’s physique that makes these animals so dangerous to both humans and animals alike. These tusks have an anecdotal aura about them that is composed of both fact and fiction. The following is a summary of the known information associated with these specialized teeth.

In vernacular or slang jargon, these teeth are also called tushes. Similarly, the lower tusks, especially in boars, are locally called cutters, because these teeth tend to be very sharp at the tips, and as such, are used by the animal for cutting a rival, prey, or predator. The upper tusks are referred to as whetters (taken from the term “whetstone,” which is a sharpening stone used for knives and other cutting tools), because these teeth primarily function to sharpen the lower tusks. This latter term is often misspelled as wetters.

Feral hogs of both sexes are born with their deciduous canine teeth. These consist of two upper and two lower teeth, which are small, needle-sharp conical structures. These are lost (shed) when the permanent tusks erupt at about 7 to 13 months of age. Although the upper teeth can appear first (by a few days), the two sets of permanent tusks in most animals appear at approximately the same time. The permanent tusks in both sexes project out of the sockets in the form of curved teeth as they grow with age. The lower tusks of both sexes extend in a forward and somewhat lateral direction out of the socket, curving upward, and in some older males, backward and toward the lower jaw. In boars, the upper canines extend in a forward and lateral direction out of the socket, then curve upward and occasionally back toward the snout. The upper canines of sows extend in a downward and lateral direction out of the socket, continuing in a lateral but never in an upward direction as in the boars. In both sexes, the upper tusks are normally shorter than the lower counterparts (Fig. 1).

Figure 1. Difference in appearance of upper and lower tusks in adult male and female feral hogs.

The permanent tusks of boars are significantly larger than those in sows. In addition, the shapes of these teeth differ markedly between the two sexes. Researchers attribute this difference to the male-male competition for breeding opportunities with females that is observed in this species. These differences are so characteristic that these teeth can be used to accurately determine the sex of feral hogs that are over 14 months of age.

Both boars and sows use their tusks for defense. However, because of the size and structural differences, boars tend tend to slash and stab, while sows tend to bite, in their use of these teeth as weapons. The sharpening of the lower tusks in both sexes is accomplished by the wearing or abrasion of these teeth against the upper tusks. Some people believe that boars sharpen their tusks when they “tusk” or cut up trees. In actuality, this tusking behavior is a form of scent marking by these animals using their tusk glands (Feral Hog Behavior) and has nothing to do with keeping a fine edge or point on the lower tusks.

The lower tusks in boars are generally semicircular in shape and triangular in cross section (Fig. 1). That triangular cross-sectional shape is consistent from the base of the wear surface to the root tip. The root tip stays open and the tooth remains evergrowing except in very old boars. The overall length of the tooth (around the outside of the curve Fig. 2) averages approximately 7 inches and typically varies in adults from 5 inches up to slightly more than 18 inches. Anecdotal accounts exist of some tusks exceeding 20 inches. These teeth grow at a rate of about 1/4 inch per month however, most of this growth is lost through grinding wear against the upper tusk. Similar to rodent incisors, the lack of sufficient grinding wear between the upper and lower tusks in feral boars can result in the lower teeth growing back into the animal’s mouth, and even into the mandible (Fig. 3). This condition, however, is more common in domestic boars and wild barrows (i.e., castrated boars) than in uncastrated wild males. Approximately 2/3 of the total lengths of the boar’s lower tusks are contained within the tooth’s socket in the lower jaw (Fig. 1). The teeth are on average one inch by 1/2 inch in cross-section at the gumline in adult boars. Enamel covers the forward-facing sides of the tooth, while the rear-facing surface is covered by cementum.

Figure 2. Illustration of the measurement of the overall or total length of the lower tusk of an adult boar.

Figure 3. Examples of tusks in boars that exhibit increased growth due to lack of sufficient grinding wear between the upper and lower teeth.

The sow’s lowers tusks are also semicircular in shape and are roughly triangular in cross section, with the edges being more rounded than in the boars (Fig. 1). Unlike the situation in boars, enamel only covers the crown of the lower tusks in sows, forming a distinct enamocementum junction line (similar to most mammalian teeth). The sow’s lower tusk tapers from that junction line to the tips of both the crown and the root. The root canal closes in sows at about 3-4 years of age, whereupon the tooth ceases any further linear growth. The mean overall length of the lower tusks in sows is 2 7/8 inches and varies from 2 to 4 inches. As in the boars, the roots comprise about 2/3 of the tooth’s length. The cross-section of a sow’s lower tusk averages 1/2 by 1/3 inches.

The upper tusks in boars approach a semicircular shape along the outer curve and are roughly trapezoidal in cross-section (Fig. 1). As in the lower teeth, the root tip remains open and the tooth evergrowing, except in very old animals. The cross-sectional shape tapers from the gumline to the tips of the crown and the root. Enamel only occurs on the underside and in two narrow ridges along the lateral surfaces of the tooth. Where it occurs, the enamel extends along the entire length of the tooth. The overall length of the upper canine in boars averages 3 2/3 inches (range – 2 1/4 to 7 1/2 inches), and the cross-sectional dimensions at the gumline are about 1 inch by 1/2 inch. Similar to the lower component, misalignment can cause longer lengths in the upper canines (Fig. 3).

In sows, the upper tusks are barely semicircular in the lateral view and are somewhat triangular in cross section with rounded edges. The tooth tapers from the enamocementum junction line to both the crown and root tips. As in the lower counterpart, the enamel only covers the crown. The root canals in these upper teeth also close, ceasing any further growth, at about 3-4 years of age. These female upper tusks average 2 inches long (range – 1 3/8 to 2 3/4 inches) and are about 3/4 by 1/3 inches in cross section at the gumline.