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Glossary & Definitions

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This section contains definitions and brief explanations for procedures, terms, and words that are commonly used at 1st Family Dental. If the definition contains a link, you can follow it to find more in-depth explanations and information that is commonly associated with that term. If you have a question that is not covered by this section or our resource library, we encourage you to send us a message or contact your local 1st Family Dental office to speak with one of our friendly staff members.

  • Amalgam

    Dental amalgam, sometimes referred to as “silver filling,” is a silver-colored material used to fill (restore) teeth that have cavities. Dental amalgam is made of two nearly equal parts: liquid mercury and a powder containing silver, tin, copper, zinc and other metals.

  • Anesthetic (local)

    The injection or application of an anesthetic drug to a specific area of the body, as opposed to the entire body and brain as occurs during general anesthesia.

    Also Known As:Shot, numb, anesthesia, lidocaine

  • Bridge

    A fixed dental restoration (a fixeddental prosthesis) used to replace a missing tooth (or several teeth) by joining an artificial tooth permanently to adjacent teeth or dental implants.

  • Bruxism

    A condition in which you grind, gnash or clench your teeth excessively, often during sleep.

  • Cavity

    A destructive process causing decalcification of the tooth enamel and leading to continued destruction of enamel and dentin, and cavitation of the tooth.

  • Cement

    Dental cements are hard, brittle materials formed by mixing powder and liquid together. They are either resin cements or acid-base cements. In the latter the powder is a basic metal oxide or silicate and the liquid is acidic.

  • Composite

    A dental material that is usually used for tooth-colored fillings and hardens with a curing light. Composite material contains acrylic and glass particles, but no mercury.

  • Crown

    A tooth-shaped “cap” that is placed over a tooth — to cover the tooth to restore its shape and size, strength, and improve its appearance. The crowns, when cemented into place, fully encase the entire visible portion of a tooth that lies at and above the gum line.

    Also Known As:Cap

  • Dental Caries

    Latin “rot”, also known as tooth decay or a cavity, is an infection, bacterial in origin, that causes demineralization and destruction of the hard tissues of the teeth (enamel, dentin and cementum).

  • Dental Implant

    A surgical component that interfaces with the bone of the jaw or skull to support a dental prosthesis such as a crown, bridge, denture, facial prosthesis or to act as an orthodontic anchor.

    Also Known As:Endosseous implant or fixture

  • Dental Laboratory

    Dental laboratories manufacture or customize a variety of products to assist in the provision of oral health care by a licensed dentist. These products include crowns, bridges, dentures and other dental products.

    Also Known As:Dental Lab, Lab, Lab Case

  • Denture

    Prosthetic devices constructed to replace missing teeth; they are supported by the surrounding soft and hard tissues of the oral cavity. Conventional dentures are removable (removable partial denture or complete denture). However, there are many different denture designs, some which rely on bonding or clasping onto teeth ordental implants (fixed prosthodontics).

    Also Known As:Dental plate, false teeth

  • Endodontist

    Dental specialist that has completed 4 years of dental school along with an additional 2 or more years of specialty training in endodontics (root canals).

  • Extraction

    The removal of teeth from the dental alveolus (socket) in the alveolar bone.

    Also Known As:Tooth extraction, exodontia, exodontics, or historically, tooth pulling

  • Filling

    A dental restorative material used to restore the function, integrity and morphology of missing tooth structure.

  • Flipper

    A removable partial denture is for a partially edentulous dental patient who desires to have replacement teeth for functional or aesthetic reasons, and who cannot have a bridge for any number of reasons.

  • Gingivitis

    Inflammation of the gums in response to bacterial biofilms (also called plaque) adherent to tooth surfaces.

  • Immediate Denture

    A complete or partial denture constructed for insertion immediately following the removal of natural teeth.

    Also Known As:Practice Denture

  • Oral Surgery

    The branch of dentistry or of surgery dealing with the surgical treatment or repair of various conditions of the mouth or jaws.

  • Osseointegration

    The firm anchoring of a surgical implant (as in dentistry or in bone surgery) by the growth of bone around it without fibrous tissue formation at the interface.

  • Periodontist

    A dentist who specializes in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of periodontal (gum) disease, and in the placement of dental implants.

  • Periodontitis

    Inflammation and infection of the ligaments and bones that support the teeth.

  • Post and Core

    A type of dental restoration that is utilized when there is inadequate tooth structure remaining to support a traditional restoration. A small rod, usually metal, is inserted into the root space (root canal) of the tooth and protrudes from the root a couple of millimeters. This rod is referred to as a post. The post is then used to hold a filling, or core, in place. Without this post there would not have been enough tooth structure remaining to hold the filling required.

  • Prophylaxis

    Includes scaling and polishing procedures to remove coronal plaque, calculus and stains.

  • Root Canal

    A sequence of treatmentfor the infected pulp of a tooth which results in the elimination of infection and the protection of the decontaminated tooth from future microbial invasion.

    Also Known As:RCT, Root Canal, Endodontic

  • SRP (Scaling & Root Planing)

    A thorough dental cleaning of tooth root surfaces to remove plaque and tartar (calculus) from around teeth and periodontal pockets in the gums, and to smooth the teeth roots to remove bacterial toxins.

  • Sutures

    A stitch or row of stitches holding together the edges of a wound or surgical incision.

    Also Known As:Stitches

  • Temporary Crown

    A temporary (short-term) crown used in dentistry. Like other interim restorations, it serves until a final (definitive) restoration can be inserted.

    Also Known As:Temp, temporary, cap

  • Temporomandibular Joint Disorder

    A disorder of the temporomandibular joint(s) that causes pain, usually in front of the ear(s), sometimes in the form of a headache.

    Also Known As:TMJ

  • Tooth

    Each of a set of hard, bony enamel-coated structures in the jaws of most vertebrates, used for biting and chewing.

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