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[Definitions] Dental Cyberweb/Patients: Definitions!

If we say you need a crown, don't pack your bags to go to Buckingham Palace! This month's article will introduce words you may run into during a dental visit.

General Terms and Procedures

amalgam
Typical silver colored filling made of mix of silver, tin, mercury, and some other trace elements like copper. Advantages- placement easier than other materials, cost. Disadvantage- color, breaks down 10-20 years.
apicoectomy
The name for a procedure of sealing and shaping the submerged root end of a tooth. This procedure involves surgical entry through soft tissue and bone to gain access to the root end.
composite
Tooth colored filling materials. Many varieties, many uses. Main advantages- color, adhesives available to strengthen rather than weaken tooth. Disadvantages- some techniques may have shrinkage and wear problem, very technique sensitive.
crown
Also called a cap, a crown is a cover for a decayed or damaged tooth made of porcelain and/or metal.
bridge
One or more artifical teeth attached to neighboring teeth, usually joined by crowns on each side of artificial tooth. It is used to maintain space and function for missing teeth.
bonding
The covering of a tooth surface to correct stained or damaged teeth, by painting a layer of plastic on the tooth.
extraction
The removal of teeth--not the patient's wallet!
laminated veneer
A thin porcelain shell bonded to the tooth to correct imperfections in shape and color.
inlay
A gold, porcelain, or composite custom-made filling cemented into the tooth. If it covers the tips of the teeth or otherwise supports the tips it is called an onlay.
night guard
A plastic mouthpiece to prevent damage from grinding teeth at night.
orthodontic treatment
Braces to correct the position of teeth.
overbite
Refers to the amount of vertical overlap of the anterior teeth. Normal range is between 0 and 20%.
overjet
Refers to the amount of distance between the upper and lower incisor teeth in a horozontal plane front to back. Normal is 0 to 1mm.
prophy
Simple cleaning of teeth with rubber wheel and dental toothpaste.
root canal therapy
Cleaning out the inside tube of the tooth to preserve the teeth.
root planing
The art of skipping over the patient's teeth with a metal instrument and charging plenty--JUST KIDDING! Actually, the cleaning of the root surface to provide healthy attached gum.
sealant
Plastic coating applied to grooves of teeth to prevent decay.

If we say you have...

abcess
Infection caused by severe decay, trauma, or gum disease. You may have pain and swelling.
angular chelitis
Sore areas in the outermost corners of the upper and lower lip junction.
bruxism
Tooth grinding, often caused by stress. Most often done unconsciously at night.
crossbite
Misalignment of the teeth when biting. Lower teeth shift to one side. May affect both sides.
papillary denture hyperplasia
Raised bumpy red areas on the hard palate under a upper denture.
periodontitis
Advanced gum disease; inflamation of gum tissue which causes bone loss resulting in tooth loss if untreated.
Pulp Fiction
What's really left of some teeth.

If you have suggestions for other definitions to add to the list

Mr. Dental Cyberweb
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