Body Parts: Dens

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For more dissections of words with Latin and Greek anatomy, check out these lists: corpus, caput, ora, os, dens, gaster, neuron, manus, ped, podos, derma, carnem, os, cor, kardia, psyche

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definitions & notes only words
  1. dental
    of or relating to the teeth
    Like a character in the book, Blume's father was a dentist called on to identify the victims by their dental records.Los Angeles Times (Jun 4, 2015)
    dens (tooth) + al (suffix forming adjectives)
    Because dentine is denser than bone and harder to destroy, dental records are often used to identify the dead; in addition, one's teeth can reveal a lot about diet and lifestyle. Thus, "dental" and "identity" are often logically connected, but etymologically, they differ because the Latin root "idem" means "the same."
  2. denture
    a medical appliance that artificially replaces missing teeth
    In a glass cabinet against the wall three rows of dentures grinned at her with crooked teeth, overlapping teeth, notched teeth.The Westing Game
    dens (tooth) + ure (suffix forming nouns)
    "Ure" is a suffix that usually forms abstract nouns of action (such as "adventure"). This is not the case with "denture" which is a concrete object and, despite the image presented in the example sentence, does not connect to action.
  3. dentistry
    the branch of medicine dealing with the anatomy and development and diseases of the teeth
    "I got involved with cosmetic dentistry because I got fed up with the Americans making fun of British teeth," she says.BBC (May 26, 2015)
    dens (tooth) + ist (suffix meaning "one who does or makes") + ry (suffix meaning "art of")
    The meaning of the suffix connects to the adjective "cosmetic" which means "serving an aesthetic rather than a useful purpose." This makes dentistry, especially cosmetic dentistry, seem less like medicine than cardiology (the suffix "logy" means "science"). But studies have shown that poor dental care can lead to a lot of health problems that affect more than just the teeth and mouth.
  4. orthodontist
    a dentist specializing in irregularities of the teeth
    With a good orthodontist, this man's smile can be made even better!
    ortho (prefix meaning "straight, true. correct") + odontos (tooth) + ia (suffix meaning "disease") + ist (suffix meaning "one who does or makes")
    The change in spelling is due to the word coming from Greek roots rather than Latin, but "dens" and "odontos" have crossed paths, just as a dentist might refer a patient to an orthodontist. Despite focusing on more cosmetic procedures, orthodontics sounds more scientific (the suffix "ics" indicates a science or discipline).
  5. periodontal
    of or relating to or involving or practicing periodontics
    Periodontal disease – a fancy term for gum disease, including gingivitis – can cause swollen gums, irritation and bleeding.US News (Dec 22, 2014)
    peri (prefix meaning "around") + odontos (tooth) + al (suffix forming adjectives)
    Another fancy term is periodontitis, which (similar to periodontal disease) affects both the gum and bone around the teeth, while gingivitis affects only the gum (the Latin noun "gingivae" means "gums" and the suffix "itis" means "inflammation").
  6. dentifrice
    a substance for cleaning the teeth
    When we read the composition of the tooth-powders and dentifrices used in early colonial days, we wonder that they had any teeth left to scour.Earle, Alice Morse
    dens (tooth) + fricare (to rub)
    Dentifrices are usually rubbed on the teeth with toothbrushes and are more commonly known as toothpastes. The example sentence's wonder is directed at the use of these ingredients: cuttle-bone, brick-dust, pumice-stone, ashes of good tobacco, and ground up broken pans.
  7. edentate
    having few if any teeth
    Edentate animals, such as the sloth, are without teeth, or at least are without the incisors.Cavins, Elmer W.
    ex (prefix meaning "out of") + dens (tooth) + ate (suffix forming nouns or adjectives)
    The example sentence uses the word as an adjective to modify the noun "animals" but it can also be used by itself to refer to a "primitive terrestrial mammal with few if any teeth." Anteaters and armadillos are also edentates.
  8. edentulous
    having lost teeth
    Cross out 'some toothless old people' and write 'certain edentulous persons.'Various
    ex (prefix meaning "out of") + dens (tooth) + ous (suffix forming adjectives)
    The roots and definitions of "edentate" and "edentulous" are nearly identical. The main difference is that an edentulous person used to have teeth but lost them, while an edentate mammal never had a lot of teeth because it doesn't need them.
  9. dentition
    the kind and number and arrangement of teeth (collectively) in a person or animal
    Teeth are usually all that paleontologists can find of ancient mammals, because dentition is built to endure punishment, and fossilizes well.Scientific American (May 8, 2011)
    dens (tooth) + ion (suffix forming nouns)
    Another definition of "dentition" is "the eruption through the gums of baby teeth," which is more commonly known as "teething." This meaning has a direct connection to the Latin verb "dentire" which means "to cut the teeth." Both descriptions, as crying babies will confirm, sound painful.
  10. dentine
    a calcareous material harder and denser than bone that comprises the bulk of a tooth
    Take our teeth, which are covered in enamel but have a core made from more pliant dentine.Science Magazine (Feb 10, 2012)
    dens (tooth) + ine (suffix indicating a neutral chemical substance, antibiotic, vitamin, or hormone)
    The example sentence seems to contradict the hard and bony nature of dentine. "Pliant" means "capable of being bent or flexed or twisted without breaking." In comparison to enamel, which is the hardest substance in the body, dentine is more pliant. This layering of different levels of hardness absorbs pressure and helps to protect the tooth from cracking.
  11. denticle
    small pointed ridge on the exoskeleton of an arthropod
    Sharkskin is as rough as high grain sandpaper thanks to millions of small toothlike scales called denticles.Science Magazine (May 14, 2014)
    dens (tooth) + cule (suffix forming diminutives)
    The denticles on the skin of sharks do not serve the same purpose as the dentition in their jaws. According to the article, "grooves along these denticles smooth the flow of passing water, giving swimming sharks a boost."
  12. indenture
    a contract binding one party into the service of another
    Massachusetts depended on not only slaves but also indentured servants and enslaved Native Americans, who had a slightly different status than black slaves did.Slate (Jun 2, 2015)
    in (prefix meaning "into, on, upon") + dens (tooth) + ure (suffix forming nouns)
    The word started off as a noun that referred to a toothed or jagged concave cut into a surface or edge. The connection to the chosen definition comes from the practice of drawing up contracts on full sheets of parchment, which were then deliberately cut along jagged lines and given to both parties. If the "teeth" of the sheets lined up, then the contract was proven real.
  13. indentation
    a concave cut or depression in a surface or edge
    Most footholds are nothing more than an indentation on the wall.Seattle Times (Jan 9, 2015)
    in (prefix meaning "into, on, upon") + dens (tooth) + ation (suffix forming nouns).
    The noun also has a meaning that most writers are aware of: "the space left between the margin and a line set in." To differentiate between the toothlike cuts created for paragraphs and those created in more physical situations, the former could be referred to as an "indention."

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