Dental Tips Blog


Common Dental Terms

If you’ve ever wondered what the difference between a crown and a bridge, here are a few dental terms you should know.

Cavity – Erosion or damage to the tooth enamel caused by natural acids in your mouth.  Left untreated, the entire tooth will eventually decay.

Filling – The material your dentist will use to fill cavities in your teeth to restore them and protect them from future decay.  Dental fillings can be silver (amalgam), gold, composite, ceramic, or porcelain.

Crown – A protective cap that looks like a tooth and covers an protects the stump of a tooth that is too damaged or decayed for a filling.

Bridge – Several crowns or false teeth put together to replace a group of missing teeth.  These are permanently placed and attached to existing teeth.

Implants – False teeth attached to posts which are permanently implanted in your jawbone.

Dentures – this is a full set of false teeth that can be removed.  Partial dentures are similar, but the patient still has some natural teeth.

Plaque – A sticky material that forms on the surface of your teeth naturally and causes tooth decay.  Brushing and flossing removes plaque and helps prevent tooth decay.

Whitening – A procedure that uses a bleaching agent to make teeth whiter.

Veneer – A thin composite or porcelain shell that is bonded to the tooth to protect it and improve its appearance.

Gingivitis – A infection of the gums caused by the bacteria in plaque.  Left untreated it can progress to serious gum disease.

Sedation – The use of nitrous oxide and oral or intravenous medications to help a patient relax during the dental procedure.  Most dentists practice conscious sedation where the patient is relaxed yet responsive during treatment.  If full sedation is necessary for the safety, health, or comfort of the patient, the treatment is completed in surgical suite.

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