Dental Terminology

Most Frequently Used

Basic Cleaning: A routine professional teeth cleaning to remove plaque build-up, tarter, and stains. This is a regularly scheduled preventative treatment for individuals with healthy gum tissue.
Scaling: The removal of plaque, calculus, and staining from teeth by manually scraping the teeth with various instruments
Polish: A product used to exfoliate and ‘polish’ the teeth.
Flouride Varnish: A liquid containing fluoride that is painted onto the teeth and hardens. It is used to prevent or reduce the risk of cavities
Amalgam: A single surface silver filling.
Bonding: A procedure in which a tooth-colored plastic material is applied with a special light, and ultimately “bonds” the material to the tooth to improve a person’s smile.
Bridge: An appliance that replaces missing teeth by securely attaching an artificial tooth to the natural teeth. This is also known as a fixed partial denture.
Composite: A filling material used to repair teeth. The most common type of filling.
Crown: A cover that is put over a tooth to help restore the tooth’s normal shape, size, and function. These are typically applied when individuals have a cavity too large for filling, a cracked or weakened tooth, or want to conceal a discolored or poorly shaped tooth.
Filling: The act of restoring a lost tooth structure using materials such as metal, plastic, alloy, or porcelain.
Implant: A device placed within or on the bone of the jaw or skull to support either a crown, bridge, denture, facial prosthesis, or to act as an orthodontic anchor.
Sealants: Plastic resin placed on the biting surfaces of molars in order to prevent bacteria from attacking the enamel.
Bicuspid: A premolar tooth or a tooth with two cusps.
Cuspid: A tooth with one cusp located between the incisors and premolars. It is also known as a canine tooth.
Deciduous Teeth: The first set of teeth a child gets, also known as primary teeth or baby teeth. There are 20 deciduous teeth which are usually all in place around age 2.
Enamel: Hard calcified tissue covering dentin on the crown of the tooth.
Molar: The teeth that are posterior to the premolars on either side of the jaw and have broad chewing surfaces.
Pulp: Connective tissue containing nerve tissue and blood vessels that occupy the pulp cavity inside of the tooth.
Wisdom Teeth: The last teeth to come in during the mid to late teenage years. They are also called third molars.
Appliance: Anything the orthodontist attaches to your teeth to move your teeth or to change the shape of your jaw.
Band: Bands are metal bands that are sometimes placed on the back molars and are used to anchor other orthodontic appliances to.
Bonding: The process of attaching brackets to your teeth using a special safe adhesive.
Bracketing: Brackets are the small metal or ceramic modules attached to each tooth. They serve as guides to move the teeth and hold the wire in place. The brackets used in orthodontics today bond directly to the teeth with a tooth-colored bonding adhesive. They are much smaller and lighter than ever.
Elastics: During various phases of treatment, small elastic or rubber bands are used as a gentle but continuous force to help individual tooth movement or the aligning of jaws.
Impressions: The first step in making a model of your teeth. You bite into a container filled with a rubber type material. That material hardens to produce a mold of your teeth.
Records: These records, which include cephalometric and panoramic x-rays, digital photos and study models, help your orthodontist determine what treatment needs to be done.
Separators: A plastic or metal part that the orthodontist uses to create space between your teeth for bands.
Alveoloplasty: A surgical procedure that reshapes the jawbone.
Excision: The surgical removal of bone or tissue.
Extraction: The act of removing a tooth or portions of a tooth.
Gingivectomy: A surgical procedure for removing gingiva (gum tissue) in order to restore gum health.
Gingivoplasty: A surgical procedure for reshaping gingiva (gum tissue).
Graft: A piece of tissue or alloplastic material placed in contact with tissue in order to repair a deficiency.
Simple Extraction: This type of extraction does not require sectioning of the tooth or any other elaborate procedures for removal.
Surgical Extraction: This type of extraction requires more extensive work and may even require bone grafts or gum tissue removal.
Suture: A stitch used to repair an incision or wound.
Annual Maximum: The total dollar amount that a plan will pay for dental care for an individual member or family member (under a family plan) for a specified benefit period, typically a calendar year.
Coordination of Benefits (COB): When a member has more than one dental plan, this is the process that the plans use to determine the amount that each will pay.
Dependents: Anyone other than the primary member that is covered by a dental plan. This could be a child or spouse.
Explanation of Benefits (EOB): A paper or electronic document provided by us detailing the dental treatments and services that were paid for on a member’s behalf. It is different from a bill.
Limitations: Services that are limited or excluded from a dental benefit plan. A member is typically responsible for charges associated with plan limitations. These services are often referred to as optional services.
Fee Schedule: A list of charges for specific dental treatments used to reimburse dentists on a fee-for-service basis.
Waiting Period: A period of time before a member is eligible to receive benefits for all or certain treatments. It typically applies to expensive services such as dentures or crowns.

Various Specialties

General Dentistry
General Dentistry is the wide umbrella of all dental procedures. General Dentists are able to diagnose and treat various diseases and disorders. Their scope of work includes several disciplines –  Periodontics (Gum work), Endodontics (Tooth root specilization), Orthodontics (Corrective Dentistry) and more.
Myofunctional Therapy
Myofunctional Therapy (Referred to as Myo) is the process of retraining the muscles of your tongue, lips and jaw to enhance breathing. Used as an essential tool for speech therapy and improving sleeping patterns. Increasing oxygen saturation within your blood is proven to increase brain activity, boost concentration, raise energy levels, and enhance sleeping abilities. 
Orthodontic Dentistry
Orthodontic Dentistry is the practice of restoring and managing mal-positioned jaws and teeth. We correct the position of teeth and jaw using a series of different techniques including braces, Clearcorrect, functional applicances and more.


Endodontic Dentistry
Endodontics is the procedure of removing infected/inflamed tissues within the root of the tooth. Delicate procedures are preformed to try to find the cause of  the extreme tooth pain,  to work to save your natural tooth. 
Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon:
A dental specialist who is most commonly known to remove teeth but also treats diseases, injuries, defects, and deformities of the oral and maxillofacial regions.

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