Glossary of helpful terms

A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z

- A -

Abscess: an infected, inflamed area containing pus, usually caused by problem tooth.


Abutment: A tooth or root that is fitted with a crown to support a bridge or partial denture.


Alloy: a mixture of two or more metals. Several alloys are used to repair teeth: noble (mostly silver), high noble (mostly gold) and "base" metals. The cost of a filling or crown depends on which alloy is used.


Amalgam: a metal alloy used in filling cavities.

- B -

Base Metal: metal alloys used for partials or crowns which contain no precious metals.


Bitewing x-ray: films of upper and lower teeth used to check for decay between teeth and under gums


Bonding: a cosmetic procedure that restores damaged teeth.


Bridge: a non-removable replacement for missing teeth made with crowns and pontics.

- C -

Cavity: tooth decay caused by bacteria which, if not treated, can destroy the tooth.


Cephalometric x-ray: used to make precise measurements for braces.


Crown: an artificial tooth or cap which covers a tooth weakened by decay.

- D -

Denture: an artificial substitute for natural teeth and surrounding tissues.


Diagnostic photographs: pictures taken by the dentist to plan treatment, particularly for braces.


Diagnostic cast: a mold or "study model" of the mouth made by taking an impression of the teeth

- E -

Endodontics: the treatment of tooth pulp disease and infections of the root canal

- F -

Filling: a durable material (gold, a resin, or amalgam) used to fill a cavity and halt decay.


Fluoride: a compound used in water and dental products and procedures to reduce tooth decay.


Full mouth x-rays: 12 to 18 films taken when needed to check on dental disease.

- G -

Gingiva: gum tissue.


Gingivectomy: the surgical removal of diseased or inflamed gum tissue.


Gingivitis: an early stage of gum disease that causes inflammation.

- I -

Impacted tooth: a tooth that does not come through the gum normally.


Inlay: a precision cast filling, usually made of gold or porcelain, covering

- M -

Malocclusion: an abnormal alignment of the teeth.

- O -

Onlay: a precision case filling that is cemented in a prepared cavity, usually made of gold or porcelain.


Oral Surgery: a dental specialty limited to the surgical removal of teeth, and the treatment of disease, deformities, and defects of the jaws and associated structures.


Orthodontics: the alignment of teeth, usually through the use of braces.


Osseous Surgery: repair of the bone structure, supporting the teeth, that has been damaged by gum disease.

- P -

Panoramic x-ray: a complete view of the teeth, jaws, and surrounding bone on one film.


Partial denture: removable artificial teeth that keep the remaining natural teeth from changing position and improves chewing ability.


Pediatric dentistry: a dental specialty limited to treatment of children from birth through adolescence.


Pedicle x-ray: close-up of an individual tooth and the surrounding tissue.


Periapical x-ray: close-up of an individual tooth and the surrounding tissue.


Periodontal disease: gum disease


Periodontics: the prevention and treatment of gum disease.


Periodontitis: a more severe gum disease that can lead to tooth loss in adults


Plaque: a sticky, nearly clear layer of bacteria on teeth.

- Q -

Quadrant: one-fourth of the mouth

- R -

Reline: to add new material on the underside of a denture to improve the fit and chewing ability.


Resin filling: a tooth colored plastic material used instead of alloys for a less noticeable, more natural appearance.


Root Canal: a treatment used on a tooth with damaged pulp to stop infection and save the tooth. The pulp is completely removed, the inside of the tooth is sterilized and sealed to prevent infection.

- S -

Scaling and root planning: a thorough cleaning of tooth surfaces below the gum line to eliminate inflammation and control disease, usually performed during several visits and under local anesthetic.


Sealant: a plastic coating applied to teeth to prevent decay.

- T -

Tartar: mineralized, hardened plaque that cannot be removed by brushing and flossing.


Temporomandibular joints: the left and right hinges that connect the jaw with the skull.


Tooth surface: one of the five sides of a tooth above the gum line.



© Healthy Discounts by Munroe Sutton - Privacy statement | Terms of use | Freephone 0808 234 3558
Home | Dental & Optical Plan | About Healthy Discounts | Glossary of Terms | Contact Us | Site map