Glossary Of Periodontic Terms – D

DARK-FIELD MICROSCOPY: A technique utilizing a microscope modified by a special condenser that allows light to enter only peripherally so that objects such as microorganisms are obliquely illuminated and glow against a dark background.

DEBRIDEMENT: The removal of inflamed, devitalized, or contaminated tissue or foreign material from or adjacent to a lesion.

DEBRIS: An accumulation of foreign material on the teeth and adjacent structures.

DECALCIFICATION: The removal of calcium salts from a bone or tooth.

DECAY: The gradual decomposition of dead organic matter. See: Caries.

DECORTICATION: Removal of cortical bone. Often used to describe multiple penetrations of the cortical surface of an intrabony defect.

DEFECT: See: Periodontal Bony Defects.

DEFLECTIVE OCCLUSAL CONTACT: A condition of tooth contact that diverts the mandible from a normal path of closure. See: Occlusal Disharmony.

DEMINERALIZATION: Decalcification; loss of mineral salts.

DENATURANT: A chemical that denatures or disrupts the three-dimensional structure of proteins causing them to lose their tertiary structure.

DENS IN DENTE: A developmental abnormality in tooth formation resulting from invagination of the epithelium associated with coronal development into the area that was destined to become the pulp space.

Gives the radiographic appearance of a “tooth within a tooth.”

DENTAL DYSFUNCTION: Abnormal functioning of dental structures.

DENTAL DYSPLASIA: See: Dysplasia, Dentinal.

DENTAL HISTORY: A complete record of all relevant aspects of an individual’s oral and general health.

DENTAL HYGIENIST: A licensed dental auxiliary who is both an oral health educator and clinician and who uses preventive, educational, and nonsurgical therapeutic methods to control oral disease.

DENTAL PROPHYLA XIS: See: Prophylaxis, Oral.

DENTICLE (Pulp Stone): A calcified mass of dentin, which may be free within the pulp, attached to the pulpal wall, or embedded in the dentin.

DENTIFRICE: A preparation intended to clean and polish the teeth. Active ingredients to prevent caries and plaque accumulation or to desensitize teeth may be included.

DENTIN: The chief substance or tissue forming the body of the teeth. It surrounds the pulp and is covered by coronal enamel and radicular cementum.

REPARATIVE D.: Deposition of dentin in response to pulpal insult. Also called irregular dentin.

SECONDARY D.: Dentin deposited after root end formation is complete.

DENTINAL HYPERSENSITIVITY: The short, exaggerated, painful response elicited when exposed dentin is subjected to certain thermal, mechanical, or chemical stimuli. See: Pulpitis.

DENTITION: The natural teeth as considered collectively in the dental arches; may be primary, permanent, or mixed.

DENTULOUS: A condition in which natural teeth are present in the mouth.

DENTURE: An artificial substitute for natural teeth. A complete denture replaces all of the teeth in an arch. See: Prosthesis.

FIXED PARTIAL D.: A replacement of one or more missing teeth that cannot be readily removed by the patient or dentist; it is fixed or bonded to natural teeth, roots, or implants which furnish the primary support to the prosthesis.

OVERDENTURE: Complete or partial removable denture supported by soft tissue and retained roots or implants to provide stability and reduce ridge resorption.

REMOVABLE PARTIAL D.: A dental prosthesis that artificially supplies teeth or other associated structures in a partially edentulous jaw and can be removed and replaced at will.

DENUDATION: The act or process of removing the covering from any surface. In periodontics, often refers to removal of all soft tissue overlying the bone.

DEOXYRIBONUCLEIC ACID (DNA): A nucleic acid that constitutes the genetic material of all cellular organisms and the DNA viruses.

DESENSITIZE: To diminish or abolish sensation of pain or sensitivity, as in dentin.

DESQUAMATION: Exfoliation; the process of shedding surface epithelium.

DETOXICANT: A chemical that degrades a toxic agent.

DIABETES MELLITUS: A chronic syndrome of impaired carbohydrate, protein, and fCl! metabolism secondary to insufficient secretion of insulin or to target tissue insulin resistance. Considered to be a modifying or accelerating factor in periodontal diseases. Data also suggest that periodontal diseases also influence the course of diabetes (e.g., increase glycated hemoglobin).

DIAGNOSE: To recognize or determine the nature of a disease or abnormal state or condition by study and consideration of the signs and symptoms and their manifestation.

DIAGNOSIS: 1. The art and science of detecting and distinguishing deviations from health and the cause and nature thereof. 2. The determination of the nature, location, and causes of a disease or disorder.

CLINICAL D.: Determination of a condition based on history and physical examination without use of laboratory or microscopic tests.

LABORATORY D.: Diagnosis based on the examination of fluids or tissues in the laboratory.

PERIODONTAL D.: Recognizing a departure from health in the periodontium and distinguishing one disease, disease categorization, or etiology from another. Based on information obtained from the medical and dental histories, clinical and radiographic examination of the patient, and laboratory findings.


DIAPEDESIS: The outward passage of cells through intact blood vessels.

DIASTEMA: A space between two adjacent teeth in a dental arch.

DIAZEPAM: A benzodiazepine anxiolytic having antianxiety, sedativ -hypnotic, amnesic, anticonvulsant, skeletal muscle relaxant, and drug

dependence properties.

DIETARY ANALYSIS: The evaluation of a diet on the basis of its content, quality, and nutrients in order to determine any imbalance or deficiency that might contribute to a disease process.

DIETARY GUIDANCE: Counseling on food selection and dietary habits.

DILACERATION: I. A tearing apart. 2. A distortion of the root or crown of a tooth resulting from an injury during tooth development. Through common usage, the term now includes teeth with sharply angulated and deformed roots.

DISC, ARTICULAR: A fibrous connective tissue structure separating the joint cavities of the temporomandibular joint; also termed the meniscus.

DISCLOSANT: A dye (tablet or solution) used to stain dental plaque. Used primarily as an aid in oral hygiene instruction.

DISEASE: A pathologic condition that presents a group of clinical signs, symptoms, and laboratory findings peculiar to it and setting the condition apart

as an abnormal entity differing from normal or other

pathologic conditions.

LOCAL CONTRIBUTING FACTOR: A local feature that may influence the presentation of the disease, such as an overhanging restoration.

DISINFECTANT: An agent that destroys or inhibits the activity of disease-producing or other harmful microorganisms, but usually does not destroy

bacterial spores; commonly refers to chemical agents applied to inanimate objects.

DISOCCLUDE: To cause loss of contact between opposing teeth as a result of tooth guidance, occlusal interferences, or occlusal adjustment.

DISTAL WEDGE: A periodontal surgical procedure for removal of excessive soft tissue distal to a terminal tooth in an arch. See: Proximal Wedge.

DISTOCCLUSION: The abnormal posterior or distal relationship of the mandibular to the maxillary teeth as in an Angle Class II occlusion.

DISUSE ATROPHY: See: Atrophy, Disuse.

DIVERGENCE: Separation or spreading apart from a common center, base, or root.

DNA: See: Deoxyribonucleic Acid.

DOCUMENTATION, PERIODONTAL: Diagnostic, therapeutic, and consultative records of a patient.

DONOR SITE: An area of the body from which a graft is taken. Examples are skin, masticatory mucosa, and bone.

DRESSING, SURGIC AL: See: Periodontal Dressing.

DRUG: Any chemical that alters the physiologic processes of living systems.

DRUG AGONIST: Chemicals that react with a receptor and initiate a cellular reaction.

DRUG ANTAGONIST: Chemicals that prevent reaction of a drug agonist with its receptor and inhibit.

DRUG EFFIC ACY: The ability of a chemical to produce a biological effect.

DRUG POTENCY: The power of a chemical to produce an effect that is contingent upon the concentration of the chemical.

DRY SOCKET: See: Socket, Dry.

DYSFUNCTION: Disturbance, impairment, or abnormality of the function of cells or an organ.

DYSKINESIA: Difficulty in performing voluntary movements.

DYSOSTOSIS: Imperfect ossification.

DYSPHAGI A: Difficulty in swallowing.

DYSPLASIA: Abnormality of development; in pathology, alteration in size, shape, and organization of cells.

DENTINAL D.: A hereditary disorder affecting the teeth and characterized by abnormal dentin, defective root formation, and a tendency for periapical


ECTODERMAL D.: An inherited condition characterized by fine, scanty, blond hair; depressed bridge of the nose; and a partial or complete absence of sweat glands and teeth.

PERIAPICAL CEMENTAL D. (Cementoma): A process of unknown origin. in which the periapical bone of vital teeth is replaced first by a fibrous

type of connective tissue, and then by an osseocementoid tissue. During its early stages this abnormality appears radiolucent and with

time the center becomes opaque. It is classified as an odontogenic tumor.

DYSTROPHY, PERIODONTAL: Changes resulting from mechanical, circulatory, degenerative, atrophic, or hypertrophic influences that interfere

with the normal physiologic processes of the periodontium.