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Adjacent surfaces of teeth in the same jaw (upper or
See Examinations "Blind"
Readings or assessments made in appropriate units
Progressive decay of teeth (or bones). See Dental
The extent and severity of dental caries within a
population - usually measured with indexes such as
DMFS or DMFT etc.
One which produces decay (within a tooth).
(Primary or "milk" teeth). These start to erupt
around 6 months and are shed around 12 years when
the permanent teeth start to appear.
Reduction of the mineral content (principally,
calcium and phosphorous) of a (issue, notably the
enamel, dentine or cementum of teeth.
Disease of the teeth resulting in the
demineralization, cavitation and breakdown of
calcified dental tissues (enamel, dentine or
cementum) by microbial activity.
See Dental Caries
A disturbance of tooth formation caused by fluoride
being present in the tissue fluids over a prolonged
period during tooth development. The disturbance
results in the development of porous enamel which
has an altered appearance ranging from the most mild
forms, in which small flecks of white discolouration
can be observed on the tooth surface, to the most
severe forms, in which the enamel develops pitting
and brown staining. Dental fluorosis must be
distinguished from other disorders of enamel
including: enamel opacities (see below) of
non-fluoride origin; early `white spot' caries
lesion; enamel hypoplasia; amelogenesis imperfecta;
dentinogenesis imperfecta; and tetracycline stains.
The prevention of dental disease, especially dental
A pharmaceutical compound used in conjunction with
the toothbrush to clean and polish teeth. It
contains a mild abrasive, a detergent, flavouring
agent, binder, and occasionally deodorants and
various medicaments designed as caries preventives,
for example, fluoride and antiseptics.
Natural teeth in the jaws
DEF, DMFT, DMFS, DIMFT, def, dft, dfs, dmft
Indexes describing the dental caries experience of
individuals or populations. The DMFT index is
computed by summing the number of permanent teeth
which are Decayed, Missing or Filled. For any
person, the index can range in value from zero to
32, the maximum number of teeth. The DMFS index is a
count of the number of permanent tooth surfaces
which are decayed, missing or filled. Teeth may have
either four surfaces (incisors and canines) or five
surface (premolars and molars) for the purposes of
the DMFS index.
The DIMFT index includes, in addition to a count of
decayed, missing and filled teeth, the number of
teeth which are Indicated for (in need of)
extraction. (DEF decayed, extracted, filled)
Lower case lettering refers to the deciduous
dentition. Hence the dft index is count of the
number of deciduous teeth which are decayed or
filled, while the dfs index refers to the number of
surfaces affected. Missing deciduous may also be
included in the index, hence constituting the dmft
Any form of fluoride which is used actively and
preferentially by an individual in the prevention of
decay. This includes fluoride tablets or drops,
fluoridated toothpastes or mouthrinses, and
professional topical applications. It does not
include fluoridated drinking water.
The amount of fluoridated water drunk, consumed,
ingested, by each person. This "dose" differs
enormously depending on age, weight, size, state of
health, temperature of day, different types of work
and sport played etc.
The extent to which a specific intervention,
procedure, regimen, or service produces a beneficial
result under ideal conditions. Ideally, the
determination of efficacy is based on the results of
a randomized controlled trial.
Defective formation of tooth enamel (or
An opaque area on the normally transparent
(translucent) enamel (often referred to as "mottled"
Present within a localized area or peculiar to
persons within such an area.
BETWEEN-EXAMINER ERROR - variations between the
assessments of two different examiners when the
examining the same person.
WITHIN-EXAMINER ERROR - an examiner may record
different opinions when examining the same mouth on
Are carried out to avoid bias. The examiner should
be unaware of the background or treatment of his
The study of the distribution and determinants of
disease in human populations and the identification
and evaluation of methods of preventing or
EPIDEMIOLOGY - EXPERIMENTAL
A study in which a population is selected for a
planned trial of a regimen 'whose effects are
measured by comparing the outcome of the regimen in
the experimental group with the outcome of another
regimen in a control group. In some experiments, for
example, fluoridation of drinking water, whole
communities have been allocated (usually
non-randomly) to experimental and control groups.
A process that attempts to determine as systemically
and objectively as possible the relevance,
effectiveness, and impact of activities in the light
of their objectives. Several varieties of evaluation
can be distinguished, for example evaluation of
structure, process and outcome.
A minute crack in the surfaces of a tooth
(caused by the imperfect joining of enamel during
An adhesive, plastic film applied to those surfaces
of teeth which have pits or fissures to assist in
the prevention of caries - however this film does
not tend to last as long as prophylatic fillings.
Is achieved by the mechanical addition of fluorides
to a public water supply to attain a concentration
of approx. 1 part fluoride to one million parts of
water (lppm) (see also RATE) FLUORIDE COMPOUNDS Used
to artificially fluoridate water supplies. They are
derived from industrial processes and dissolve
readily in water.
Are substances containing fluoride ions which are
constituents of the element fluorine.
Natural fluorides found in nature are those found in
which the fluoride ions are bound to calcium and are
The means by which supplementary fluoride is provide
for the prevention of dental caries. The principal
fluoride vehicles are : water fluoridation, fluoride
tablets or drops, fluoride toothpastes or
mouthrinses, and professional dental applications.
Is a rare and toxic gas (yellow, pungent), however
the term fluorine in most cases can be substituted
for fluoride (mainly European use).
Fluoride poisoning due to ingesting or drinking too
much fluoride in drinking water over a long period
of time (or to ingestion of pesticides containing
fluoride salts). Chronic fluorosis results in the
"mottling" of (children's) teeth.
FLUOROSIS Dental - See Dental Fluorosis
FLUOROSIS Skeletal - See Skeletal Fluorosis
GEL (Fluoride gel)
Contains 1.23% Fluoride for direct application by
dentists to teeth during prophylatic treatment.
That part of the tooth surface which is adjacent to
or immediately above the gum (gingiva).
Incomplete development of an organ or part.
The number of new cases of a given disease or other
condition in a given population at risk of the
disease during a designated time. The word is often
used to mean incidence rate.
Monofluorophosphate - one formulation commonly used
for the addition of fluoride to toothpaste.
See Enamel Opacity and Dental Fluorosis
A mouth rinse possessing cleaning, germicidal, and /
or palliative properties.
The "biting" surface of the tooth which makes
contact with that of the opposing jaw.
Porosity and brittleness of bones due to loss of
protein from the bone matrix.
The set of natural, permanent teeth in the dental
Parts per million - a measurement of the
concentration of a substance. A concentration of one
part per million is equivalent to one milligram per
kilogram. For example, fluoridated water at l ppm
contains one milligram of fluoride ion per litre of
The number of individual cases of a given disease or
other condition in a given population at a
designated time. The word is often used to mean
The set of natural, primary (deciduous) teeth in the
Dental fillings which, in the past, were placed in
the pits or fissures of sound (non-decayed) teeth
with a view to preventing the development of
Fluorides are generally protoplasmic poisons because
of their capacity to modify the metabolism of cells
by changing the permeability of the cell membrane by
inhibiting certain enzyme systems.
Encompasses the problems affecting the health of a
population, the collective status of health of the
people, environmental health and health services,
and the administration of health care services.
This term is used to describe the differences which
may occur constantly from year to year in treated or
untreated areas due to the influence of many random
factors which affect caries rates, some of which are
RANDOMIZED CONTROLLED TRIAL
An epidemiological experiment in which subjects in a
population are randomly allocated into groups,
usually called "study" and "control" groups, to
receive or not to receive an experimental
preventative or therapeutic procedure or
intervention. The results are assessed by comparison
of rates of the disease, death, recovery, or other
appropriate outcome in the study and control groups,
respectively. Randomized controlled trials are
generally regarded as the most, scientifically
rigorous method of hypothesis testing available in
The amount of fluoride (F) in the water either
naturally or added by a water authority expressed as
p.p.m. (parts per million) or mg/litre (milligrams
The process whereby a demineralized or
hypomineralized tissue takes up minerals again (used
here in the sense of ionic exchange in enamel).
This is caused by excessive intakes of fluoride from
many sources including drinking water supplies. Bone
fractures caused by fluoride changing the structure
and decreasing the tensile strength (although
increasing bone mass). Advanced skeletal fluorosis
is a crippling process causing stiffness of joints
and limiting joint movement.
SMOOTH SURFACE CARIES
Dental caries occurring on those gingival and
approximal surfaces of the teeth which do not have a
natural pattern of fissures, pits or grooves.
Any form for fluoride which is used by humans in
addition to the amounts to which they would be
exposed through the environment, foods and
background levels in drinking water (typically at a
concentration of 0.3 ppm fluoride or less). Sources
of supplementary fluoride include fluoridated
drinking water, fluoride tablets or drops,
fluoridated toothpastes or mouthrinses, and
professional dental applications. Hence, the term
"supplementary fluoride" here is broader in scope
than that used by some others to refer only to
tablets or drops.
Affecting the whole body.
See Discretionary Fluoride, Supplementary Fluoride
and Fluoride Vehicle.
Pertaining to or acting upon a particular surface
Application locally (in the mouth onto the tooth
The application of fluoride which is intended
primarily to act locally on the teeth.
The fluoride ion is toxic to all life when not
"bound" (as when it occurs naturally). "Free"
fluoride ions may exert toxic effects.
This glossary has been compiled from the work of
Dr.P R.N.Sutton, Glen S.R. Walker, The Collins
Dictionary and portions of information from the N.H.
and M.R.C. (Australia).