Glossary Of Periodontal Terms – C

CALCIFY: See: Mineralize.

CALCULUS, DENTAL (Tartar ): A hard concretion that forms on teeth or dental prostheses through calcification of bacterial plaque.

SUBGINGI VAL (Seruminal) C.: Calculus formed apical to the gingival margin; often brown or black, hard, and tenacious.

SUPRAGINGI VAL (Salivary) C.: Calculus formed coronal to the gingival margin; usually formed more recently than subgingival calculus.

CAMPYLOBACTER RECTUS: Formerly called Wolinella recta. Gram-negative, motile, facultative bacteria that are surface trans locating and can be found as helical, curved, or straight bacterial cells. Found in periodontitis patients, they exhibit a rapid, darting type of bacterial motility by means of flagella located at one pole of the bacterial cell.

CANAL, ROOT: The portion of the dental pulp cavity in the root of a tooth.

ACCESSORY (LATERAL) ROOT c.: A lateral branch of the main root canal most often found in the apical half of the roots and in furcation areas.

CANCELLOUS BONE: See: Bone, Cancellous.

CANDIDA SSP.: A yeast-like fungus often found in association with oral diseases such as “thrush” (oral candidiasis). Usually stains Gram-positive, is aerobic, and is significantly larger than bacteria. Most frequently encountered species is C. albicans.

CANDIDA ALBICANS: The most pathogenic species of Candida. Usually a harmless inhabitant of mucous membranes, but under certain conditions may cause infections.

CANDIDIASIS (Thrush): An infection with a fungus of the genus Candida, usually C. albicans, that is associated with several predisposing factors including the use of broad spectrum antibiotics, pregnancy, xerostomia, diabetes mellitus, and suppression of the

immune system. Clinical features include soft, white, curd-like plaques that can be wiped away leaving an erythematous area.

CANINE PROTECTION: A form of articulation in which the overlap of the canine teeth disengages the posterior teeth in excursive movements. See: Guidance, Canine.

CANKER SORES: See: Aphtha, Minor.

CAPNOCYTOPHAGA SSP: Gram-negative, capnophilic (carbon-dioxide loving), fusiform bacilli found as normal oral flora in humans. May be associated with systemic disease, usually in leukemic and/or granulocytopenic patients.

CAPNOPHILIC: Refers to a type of organism that grows optimally under conditions of increased (above atmospheric levels) partial pressure of carbon dioxide.(e.g., Capnocyrophaga ssp.)

CA PSULE, BACTERLt\.L: .\n extracellular coating usually composed of mucopolysaccharides produced by some bacteria. May increase an organism’s virulence by interfering with the nonspecific immune system (phagocytosis) of the host.

CARCINOMA: A malignant growth of epithelial cells tending to infiltrate the surrounding tissues giving rise to metastases.

CARDIOPULMONARY RESUSCITATION (CPR): Emergency manipulatory measures

employed to maintain circulation of the blood and restore respiration.

CARIES: A localized and progressive disintegration of a tooth usually beginning with the dissolution of the enamel and followed by bacterial invasion of the dentinal tubuli.

CAST, STUDY OR DIAGNOSTIC: A positive replica of the teeth and adjacent tissues usually formed by pouring plaster into a matrix or impression.

CATALASE: An enzyme capable of degrading hydrogen peroxide to water and oxygen. Several bacterial species, as well as host cells, produce catalase, which can be used as an aid to bacterial identification.

CAUTERY: The application of a caustic substance, a hot instrument, an electric current, or other agent to destroy tissue.

CAVERNOUS RESORPTION: See: Resorption, Cavernous.

CAVITY, PULP: The internal space within a tooth, which normally houses the dental pulp.

CD ANTIGENS: Cell surface molecules that are distinguishable with specific monoclonal antibodies and may be used to differentiate cell populations. For example, clusters of differentiation (CD) antigens include CD4, CD8, CD40. eDNA : A fragment of DNA complementary to a specific RNA sequence, synthesized from it in vitro

by reverse transcription. cDNA probes can be used for the identification of pathogenic bacteria in dental plaque samples.

CELL-MEDIATED IMMUNITY: An immune reaction mediated by T lymphocytes (activated lymphocytes release biologic response modifierslymphokines- on exposure to antigen).

CELLULITIS: A diffuse inflammation; the term usually applies to purulent inflammation within loose subcutaneous tissue.

CEMENTICLE: A calcified, spherical body composed of cementum, lying free within the

periodontal ligament, attached to the cementum or imbedded within it.

CEMENTO-DENTINA L JUNCTION: See: Junction, Cemento-Dentinal.

CEMENTO-ENAMEL JUNCTION: See: Junction, Cemento-Enamel.

CEMENTOGENESIS: The development or formation of cementum.

CEMENTOID: The uncalcified surface layer of cementum. Collagen fibers are incorporated into this tissue, some of which extend to the alveolar bone contributing to the periodontal ligament.

CEMENTOMA: See: Dysplasia, Periapical Cemental.

CEMENTUM: The thin, calcified tissue of ectomesenchymal origin covering the roots of teeth in which embedded collagen fibers attach the teeth to the alveolus.

ACELLULAR c.: That portion of the cementum that does not incorporate cells.

CELLULAR c.: That portion of the cementum that contains cementocytes. It is found primarily in the apical third of the root.

CENTRIC OCCLUSION: See: Occlusion, Centric.

CENTRIC PREMATURITY: An occlusal contact or interference that occurs before a balanced and stable jaw-to-jaw relationship is reached in centric occlusion or centric relation.

CENTRIC RANGE: The distance between centric relation and centric occlusion in a horizontal plane Also termed long centric.

CENTRIC RELATION: 1. The most retruded physiologic relation of the mandible to the maxilla from which lateral movements can be made. Can exist at various degrees of jaw separation and occurs around the terminal hinge axis. 2. The most posterior relation of the mandible to the maxilla at the established vertical relation.

CENTRIC SLIDE: The movement of the mandible from centric relation to centric occlusion.

CEPHALOSPORINS: Broad spectrum beta-Iactam antibiotics chemically related to and having the same mechanism of action as the penicillins.

CERV IX: A neck or constricted portion; specifically, the narrowed region at the junction of the crown with the root of a tooth.

CHAMBER, PULP: That portion of the pulp cavity within the anatomic crown of the tooth.

CHEILITIS, ANGULAR: Inflammation affecting the corners or commissures of the mouth.

CHEILOSIS: Fissuring and dry scaling of the vermilion surface of the lips and corners of the


CHEMOATTRACTANT: A chemical or biological mediator that causes certain cells to move toward the site containing the highest concentration of the chemical.

CHEMOKINESIS: Increased activity of an organism due to the presence of a chemical substance.

CHEMOTAXIS: The migration of cells along a concentration gradient of an attractant.

CHEMOTHERAPY: The prevention or treatment of a disease by chemical agents.

CHLAMYDIA SSP: Obligate intracellular parasites, which are related to Gram-negative bacteria, and multiply by binary fission in the cytoplasm of the host cell.

CHLORHEXIDINE: A bis-biguanide antiseptic agent used to prevent colonization and kill or inhibit microorganisms on surfaces of skin, mucous membranes, and teeth.

CHROMOSOME: One of the nuclear bodies that carries hereditary factors in cells. There are 46 in humans.

CHRONIC: Continuing over a long period of time. Used to describe a disease state of long duration.

CICATRIX: The fibrous connective tissue that follows the healing of a wound; a scar.

CINGULUM: A lobe on the palatal/lingual aspect of an anterior tooth.

CITRIC ACID: A tricarboxylic acid that may be useful in near-saturated solution (pH = I to 1.4) to detoxify (cleanse) diseased root surfaces and expose intrinsic collagen fibers in new attachment therapy.

CLEARANCE: A measure of the body’s ability to eliminate a drug.

CLEFT, GINGIVAL: A vertical fissure in the gingiva.

CLEIDOCRANIAL DYSPLASIA: A condition, often inherited, characterized by open fontanels and sutures in the skull; complete or partial absence of the  clavicles; underdeveloped maxilla with a high, narrow, arched palate; prolonged retention of deciduous teeth; and numerous unerupted supernumerary teeth.

CLICKING: With respect to temporomandibular articulation, a snapping or cracking noise evident on movement of one or both mandibular condyles.

CLINDAMYCIN: A Iincosamide antibiotic with a broad spectrum of bacteriostatic activity particularly against anaerobes; pseudomembranous colitis has been reported as a common side effect (0.0 I to 10%) of patients taking this medication.

CLINICAL: Pertaining to the signs, symptoms, and course of a condition or disease as observed by a clinician.





C. RECORD: Information comprising a patient’s medical and dental history, clinical findings,

diagnosis, prognosis, plan of therapy, and progress of treatment.

CLONE: Refers to the progeny of a somatic cell all having identical genotype.

CMV (Cytomegalovirus): A DNA virus, genetically distinct from other herpes viruses, that grows more readily in fibroblasts than in epithelial and lymphoid cells; causes cytomegalic inclusion disease, mononucleosis, and is secreted in renal transplant patients.

COAGULATION (Clotting): The process of changing liquid to solid, especially of blood.

COAGULUM, OSSEOUS: See: Osseous Coagulum.

COAPTATION: Proper adjustment of displaced parts, as in the ends of fractured bone. the edges of a wound, etc.

COCCOBACILLUS: A descriptive term of bacterial cell morphology referring to a structure intermediate in shape between a true coccus and a bacillus (rod).

COL: A valley-like depression of the interdental gingiva that connects facial and lingual papillae and conforms to the shape of the interproximal contact area.

COLD SORE: See: Herpes.

COLLAGEN: A genetically distinct family of structural macromolecules of the extracellular matrix that contains one or more domains assembled in a triple helix. These proteins form a wide variety of structures.

COLLAGENASE: A neutral metalloproteinase that catalyzes the degradation of collagen.

COLONIZATION: Formation and establishment of population groups of the same type of microorganism, such as in the periodontal pocket.

COMMISSURE: The union of the lips at the angles of the mouth.

COMPACT BONE: See: Bone, Compact.

COMPLAINT: A symptom, malady, ailment, disorder, or disease reported by a patient.

COMPLEMENT: A group of serum proteins involved in the control of inflammation, the activation of phagocytes, and the lytic attack on cell membranes. The system can be activated by interaction with antigen-antibody complexes or by bacterial substances.

COMPLIANCE: Action in accordance with recommendation(s).

COMPUTERIZED TOMOGRAPHY (CT): The technique by which multidirectional x-ray

transmission data through a body are mathematically reconstructed by a computer to form an electrical cross-section (slice) of a patient’s anatomy.

CONCRESCENCE: The union of roots of approximating teeth via a deposition of cementum.

CONCRETION: An inorganic mass in a natural cavity or in the tissue of an organism.

CONDENSING OSTEITIS: See: Osteitis, Condensing.

CONDITIONED REFLEX: A learned response to a stimulus.

CONDYLAR GUIDANCE: The path that the condyles travel during translatory movements. The inclination of the path can be measured in degrees as related to the Frankfort plane.

CONGENITAL: Present at birth.

CONSANGUINITY: Relationship occurring due to common ancestors; blood relationship.

CONSCIOUS SEDAT ION: See: Sedation, Conscious

CONSULTAT ION: The joint deliberation, usually for explanatory or diagnostic purposes, between a patient and practictioner, or two or more practitioners.

CONTACT SURFACE: The area on the proximal surface of a tooth that touches an adjacent tooth.

CONTAGIOUS: Communicable by contact; spreading from one to another.

CONT RACT ION (Muscle): The development of tension in a muscle in response to a nervous stimulus.

ISOME TRIC c.: An increase in muscular tension at the same muscle length, as in clenching teeth.

ISOTONIC c.: Steady muscle tension generated by a shortening muscle against a load. Work rate (power output) remains constant during an isotonic contraction.

POSTURAL c.: Maintenance of muscular tension (usually isometric) sufficient to maintain posture.

CONT RACT URE: A permanent shortening of a muscle resulting from fibrosis.

CONT RALATERAL: Situated on, pertaining to, or affecting the opposite side, as opposed to ipsilateral.

CONT RAST, RADIOGRA PHIC IMAGE: The visible differences in photographic or film density produced on a radiograph by the structural composition of the object or objects radiographed. Radiographs made with higher kilovoltage (e.g., 90 kv) have a longer scale contrast and appear dull by comparison with those made at lower voltages, but they have improved image character for interpretation.

CORTICAL BONE: See: Bone, Cortical.

COUMARIN: An anticoagulant that inhibits the hepatic synthesis of the vitamin K-dependent

coagulation factors.

COXSACKIEVIRUS: An enterovirus occasionally found in association with ulcerative oral lesions.

CRATER: A saucer-shaped defect of soft tissue or bone, often seen interdentally. See: Periodontal Bony Defects.

CREPITUS (Crepitation): A crackling or grating noise in a joint during movement.

CREST: A projection or ridge. In periodontics, usually refers to the most coronal portion of the alveolar process.

CREVICULAR EPITHELIUM: The nonkeratinized epithelium of the gingival crevice.

CREVICULAR FLUID: See: Gingival Fluid.

CRIBRIFORM: Perforated like a sieve.

CRIBRIFORM PLAT E, DENTAL: The alveolar bone proper.

CROUN’S DISEASE: A chronic, granulomatous disease of unknown cause involving any part of the gastrointestinal tract, but commonly involving the terminal ileum. Oral lesions may be granulomatous in nature, having a cobblestone mucosal surface, military ulceration, and linear fissures with a patchy distribution. Aphthae and glossitis may be seen.

CROSS-BIT E: An abnormal relation of a tooth or teeth of one arch to its/their antagonists in the other arch due to lateral deviation of tooth position or abnormal jaw position. In a crossbite relationship, mandibular crown or crowns are more facially positioned than their maxillary counterparts.

ANTERIOR c.: One or more maxillary incisors positioned on the lingual side of the mandibular incisors when the jaws are closed.

POSTERIOR c.: One or more maxillary posterior teeth positioned in a palatal relationship with the mandibular teeth when the jaws are closed.

CROWDING: Discrepancy between tooth sizes and arch length and/or tooth positioning that results in malalignment and abnormal contact relationships between teeth.

CROWN: The part of a tooth that is covered with enamel or a dental restoration and normally projects beyond the gingival margin.

ANATOM IC c.: The portion of a natural tooth that extends from its cemento-enamel junction to the occlusal surface or incisal edge.

CLINIC AL C.: The portion of a tooth that extends occlusally or incisally from the margin of the investing soft tissue, usually gingiva.

CROWN, LENGTHENING OF CLINICAL: A surgical procedure designed to increase the extent of supragingival tooth structure for restorative or esthetic purposes by apically positioning the gingival margin, removing supporting bone, or both. May be accomplished by orthodontic tooth movement.

CROWN-ROOT RATIO: The relationship between the extra-alveolar arm of the tooth and the intra-alveolar arm of the tooth as determined radiographically.

CRYOSURGERY: Destruction of tissue by extreme cold. Usually achieved with liquid nitrogen or carbon dioxide.

CRYPT: A follicle or small glandular sac.

CULTURE: The propagation of microorganisms or living tissue cells in special media conducive to their growth.

CUR ATIVE: Tending to overcome disease and promote recovery.

CURET, PERIODONTAL: An instrument used for debridement (curettement) of tooth roots, periodontal pockets, and bone.

CURETTAGE: Scraping or cleaning the walls of a cavity or surface by means of a curet. See: Root Planing.

APICAL (Periapic al) c.: Surgical removal of tissue or foreign material surrounding the apex of a tooth.

CLOSED c.: Performed via the gingival crevice without flap reflection.

GINGIVAL c.: The process of debriding the soft tissue wall of a periodontal pocket.

OPEN c.: Facilitated by reflection of a soft tissue flap

ROOT c.: Scraping or cleaning the walls of a surface by means of a curet. See: Root Planing.

CURETTE: See: Curet, Periodontal.

CURTAIN PROCEDURE: A procedure designed to retain the marginal portion of the facial and interproximal gingiva for esthetic purposes in the surgical treatment of periodontal pockets, usually in the maxillary anterior region, by means of a palatal approach. The facial gingiva will be coronal to the palatal margin, thus creating a “curtain.”

CURVE OF SPEE: The anatomic curvature of the occlusal alignment of teeth beginning at the tip of the lower canine, following the buccal cusps of the natural premolars and molars, and continuing to the anterior borders of the ramus.

CUSPID GUIDANCE: See: Canine Protection.

CYCLOSPORINE: An immunosuppressant and antifungal agent used to prevent rejection in organ transplant recipients. It can be associated with gingival overgrowth.

CYST: A pathologic cavity lined by epithelium and usually containing fluid or semisolid material.

APICAL PERIODONTAL c.: The most common odontogenic cyst; involving the apex of a root and resulting from the inflammatory reaction to a nonvital pulp.

D ENT I GEROUS c.: Forms around the crown of an unerupted tooth or odontoma.

D EV ELOPMENTAL c.: Results from a formative aberration.

GINGIVAL c.: Found within the gingiva, most commonly in the mandibular canine-premolar region. Believed to be derived from epithelial rests of the dental lamina.

INCISIV E CANAL C. (Nasop alatin e Duct C. And Median Ant erior Maxillary C.): A developmental, non-odontogenic cyst originating from embryonic remnants within the incisive canal.

KERAT INIZING ODONTO GENIC C. (Calcifying and Ker atinizing Odontogenic C:, Gorlin’s C.): An odontogenic cyst found most often in the mandibular canine and premolar region; has distinct microscopic features including basal epithelial cells that resemble ameloblasts, large prematurely keratinized eosinophilic cells (ghost cells), and the production of an amorphous material referred to as “dentinoid;” may be totally cystic or predominantly


KERATOCYST: Developmental odontogenic cyst of the dental lamina in which the epithelial cells produce keratin; known for its aggressive nature and high recurrence rate.

L AT ERAL PERIODONTAL C.: A small cyst of the periodontal ligament found most often in the mandibular canine and premolar areas; associated with a vital tooth and postulated to originate from the rests of Malassez, the rests of the dental lamina, or a supernumerary tooth bud.

ODONTO GENIC C.: A class of cysts derived from odontogenic epithelium, such as Primordial, dentigerous, and lateral periodontal cysts.

PERIODONTAL C.: See: Cyst, Lateral Periodontal C.

PRI MORDI AL C.: An odontogenic cyst resulting from degeneration of the enamel organ of a developing tooth bud.

RAD ICULAR C.: A cyst along the root of a tooth. Previously the term often was used synonymously with what is now more accurately referred to as an apical periodontal cyst.

RESIDUAL C.: A cyst in the maxilla or mandible that remains after the associated tooth has been removed.

RETENTION c.: Caused by retention of glandular secretion.

MUCOCELE: A cyst or cyst-like structure that contains mucous glycoproteins.

RANULA: Forms in the floor of the mouth as a result of trauma or blockage of a salivary gland duct. It may be lined with epithelium.

TRAUMATIC (Hemorrhagic Bone) c.: A radiolucent lesion in the bone without a radiopaque border; a cavity of disputed cause, lined by extremely thin or no tissue, which may contain fluid (blood or serum). It is assumed to have been caused by trauma. Teeth, if present, are vital. Not a true cyst.

CY TOKINES: A large group of proteins made by cells that are capable of regulating a wide variety of cellular functions.


CY TOTOXIC: Having the ability to kill cells.

CY TOTOXIN: An agent that inhibits or prevents the function of cells.

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