Glossary of Dentaland Oral Care Terms
The friendly dental team at Ross Dental strives to be your top resource for all things related to your oral health. Our New Berlin & Waukesha dentistry professionals have compiled a list of common terms and procedures frequently used in the dental industry. The more informed you are before an appointment or procedure, the more at ease you'll be. If you have any questions, feel free to contact our offices today - we're always happy to help.
Dental implants are specifically designed to be surgically placed within the mandibular as a means of tooth replacement.
Dental implants are commonly referred to as many different things: tooth replacement, prosthetic teeth, endosteal, subperiosteal, etc. You can have a single tooth or multiple teeth replaced with dental implants.
Annual Maximum (Benefit)
This refers to the maximum dollar amount you can annually receive from your insurance provider. This does not refer to the total dollar amount of services you receive.
Basic Restorative Services
Basic restorative services refer to typical dental services such as fillings, root canals, and extractions. These are typically covered by your insurance but can vary depending on the policy in question.
Bonded veneers are small pieces of porcelain that are bonded to your teeth. Bonded veneers are made out of a special resin. Each veneer is custom designed for each patient’s teeth, giving an incredibly natural appearance. Bonded veneers are a “same day” procedure.
An orthodontic procedure to correct crooked teeth or “bad bites”. When combined with other procedures they can also help reshape the jaw. Braces are often used to correct and improve a patient’s smile.
A bridge is a prosthetic replacement for missing or damaged teeth. A bridge is cemented or otherwise attached to ensure a secure fit.
Bruxism refers to the unconscious grinding or clenching of teeth. This generally occurs while the patient is asleep, but can occur constantly. Bruxism can wear down teeth and weaken, or even chip them over time.
Cavities refer to missing tooth structure. A cavity can occur because of decay, abrasion, or erosion. If left untreated, cavities can continue to grow and cause more damage to the tooth.
Composite fillings are made up of a blend of different materials to ensure a long-lasting filling that is hard to notice and blends in with the natural tooth.
A copayment is the fixed amount you pay before each service. This amount can vary depending on your policy.
Cosmetic dentistry refers to the process of improving your smile. This can be done through veneers, braces, retainers or even surgery. Most cosmetic procedures aren’t considered “basic services”, and your insurance policy may not cover cosmetic dentistry.
A crown is an artificial structure that covers the remaining damaged tooth. Crowns can be applied to individual teeth or several crowns can be used to form a bridge. Crowns are often made of metal, ceramic, polymer, or a blend of these materials. This could also refer to the crown, or top, of a tooth.
Decay is the general term for lesions on a tooth, and the decomposition of tooth structure.
Dentures are an artificial substitute for a patient’s natural teeth. Dentures can replace some, or all of a patient’s teeth if need be. Most are custom-made to create an unassuming natural smile.
Inflammation of the tooth socket after extraction, caused by excess dryness, infection, or a loss of a blood clot. This is common in wisdom tooth surgeries.
Enamel is the hard calcified tissue surrounding the crown of the tooth. Enamel can be worn down by acidic foods and drinks and cannot grow back.
A filling is a common term used to describe the repair of damaged or missing tooth enamel. The process usually uses metal, alloy, plastic, porcelain, or a composite. Filling vary in cost depending on which material is used.
Guards and Appliances
Guards and appliances usually refer to removable devices used to either prevent the grinding of teeth or help reshape your jaw to change your smile.
Implant dentistry is the process of replacing missing teeth. A dentist who has studied heavily in the field of gum disease, dental surgery or periodontal is qualified to install a dental implant. The advanced training required to perform an implant surgery has made the procedure highly successful. The process of implant dentistry has become the most reliable solution to replacing your teeth.
Invisalign are custom-made clear braces specifically designed for your teeth. These aligners will gradually straighten your teeth and are considered “the modern braces”, with no worries of metal wiring or brackets. Essentially invisible, Invisalign braces are very popular among adults who want to straighten their teeth and enjoy the luxury of taking the aligners on and off as needed.
Oral Cancer Screening
Oral cancer screening is a process where dental professionals scan for cancer before any symptoms are largely apparent.
The palate is the system of hard and soft tissue that forms the roof of your mouth and separates your oral and nasal cavities.
Periodontal disease, more commonly known as gum disease, is the inflammatory process of the gums. Therapy such as deep cleanings, medications, or surgery can reduce the effects of periodontal disease.
Plaque is a biofilm that forms naturally on teeth. Plaque is the perfect environment for bacteria to grow, causing cavities to form. Brushing and flossing can help prevent plaque buildup, but bi-annual teeth cleanings will help remove it and check for cavity growth.
Porcelain veneers are applied to damaged or chipped teeth. Since they are made out of porcelain instead of resin, they can last up to 15 years longer and are the closest veneer you can have to your natural teeth. They require two visits, one to design them and another to apply them. Since porcelain veneers are custom-made for your teeth, they look incredibly natural.
A Prosthodontist is an expert in the field of restoration and replacement of teeth. The prosthodontist will rehabilitate your smile if you have discolored or broken teeth. All complex restoration should be handled with care by a prosthodontist. Your smile and self-esteem will be significantly impacted when a professional prosthodontist restores your teeth.
A root canal actually refers to the cavity within the root of the tooth that holds the “pulp,” which is home to the blood vessels and connective tissue of the tooth’s root.
Root Canal Therapy
Root canal therapy refers to the surgical process where the “pulp” within the root canal is treated to prevent disease and decay.
Sealants are a thin plastic coating applied to cracks and fissures in teeth. These are usually placed on the chewing teeth, your molars, to prevent decay.
Sedation dentistry, or twilight dentistry, is the process of lightly sedating patients before their dental procedure, whether it be a cleaning or a root canal. The process is noninvasive, and experienced technicians determine the appropriate amount of sedative to use to minimize your fear and discomfort. Sedation Dentistry offers the benefit of a full sedative without the groggy aftereffects.
Teeth cleaning is the regular procedure of cleaning your teeth each year to ensure they stay healthy. Think of it like a two-in-one tune-up and detailing procedure for your car. Teeth cleaning usually removes built-up plaque which would cause cavities. Regular teeth cleaning will ensure gum and tooth help while allowing your dentist to regularly check for oral health defects.
Professional teeth whitening services restore natural tooth color beyond that of normal dental care and in-home whitening kits.
Temporomandibular joint and muscle disorders, commonly called "TMJ," affect many patients. TMJ is a general term for “clicking,” “popping,” or soreness of the jaw. For most people, this is just a mild discomfort but can be a serious problem for some.
Tooth pain can be caused by a number of reasons, from cavities to gum disease. Further analysis is almost always required to determine the exact cause of the pain and how the best remedy it.