Dentistry, also known as Dental and Oral Medicine, is a branch of medicine that consists of the study, diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of diseases, disorders, and conditions of the oral cavity, commonly in the dentition but also the oral mucosa, and of adjacent and related structures and tissues, particularly in the maxillofacial (jaw and facial) area. Although primarily associated with teeth among the general public, the field of dentistry or dental medicine is not limited to teeth but includes other aspects of the craniofacial complex including the temporomandibular joint and other supporting, muscular, lymphatic, nervous, vascular, and anatomical structures.
Dentistry is often also understood to subsume the now largely defunct medical specialty of stomatology (the study of the mouth and its disorders and diseases) for which reason the two terms are used interchangeably in certain regions.[where?]
The maxillary central incisor is a humantooth in the front upper jaw, or maxilla, and is usually the most visible of all teeth in the mouth. It is located mesial to the maxillary lateral incisor. As with all incisors, their function is for shearing or cutting food during mastication (chewing). There are no cusps on the teeth. Instead, the surface area of the tooth used in eating is called an incisal ridge or incisal edge. Formation of these teeth begin at 14 weeks in utero for the deciduous (baby) set and 3–4 months of age for the permanent set.
There are some minor differences between the deciduous maxillary central incisor and that of the permanent maxillary central incisor. The deciduous tooth appears in the mouth at 10 months of age and is replaced by the permanent tooth around 7–8 years of age. The permanent tooth is larger and is longer than it is wide. The maxillary central incisors contact each other at the midline of the face. The mandibular central incisors are the only other type of teeth to do so. The position of these teeth may determine the existence of an open bite or diastema. As with all teeth, variations of size, shape, and color exist among people. Systemic disease, such as syphilis, may affect the appearance of teeth.
Panoramic radiograph of historic dental implants, made 1978
"A wealthy patient falling over because of having a tooth extracted with such vigour by a fashionable dentist", c. 1790.
Irreversible enamel defects caused by an untreated celiac disease. They may be the only clue to its diagnosis, even in absence of gastrointestinal symptoms, but are often confused with fluorosis, tetracycline discoloration, acid reflux or other causes. The National Institutes of Health include a dental exam in the diagnostic protocol of celiac disease.