Dental Glossary

Everything needs something to lean on. Abutment teeth are the natural teeth or teeth roots that provide support for a dental bridge, dentures or dental implants.
Affordable Dentures
Affordable dentures aren’t cheap, but they do provide value for your money. Find out what factors affect the cost of dentures and how to set realistic expectations.
Dentists have used amalgam, or silver, to fill cavities for over 100 years. But amalgam has gotten a bad rap in recent years. Find what’s true and what’s myth.
The goal of a root canal treatment is to save your tooth. But when that doesn’t work, your dentist may recommend an apicoectomy to remove a diseased tooth root.
Scaling and root planing is effective in removing the bacteria that cause periodontal disease, but the gum disease treatment ARESTIN offers added protection. Find out how ARESTIN works.
Bone Grafting
If your jaw isn’t healthy enough to support dental implants, your dentist may recommend bone grafting. Bone grafting involves using bone from other areas of your body to rebuild your jaw.
Bone Regeneration
When left untreated, periodontal disease can wear away your jaw bone making non-surgical gum disease treatment ineffective. Bone regeneration can remedy this.
Dental braces have evolved so much that you may not recognize them — or see them at all! Today’s dental braces are designed to improve your comfort without sacrificing your style.
Cantilever Bridge
A cantilever dental bridge is ideal if you’re missing a tooth but don’t have healthy abutment teeth on both sides of the gap. Cantilever bridges can also be used to replace missing teeth.
Chloral Hydrate Sedation
Have kids? Chloral hydrate sedation is a form of sedation dentistry that can help your kids, even infants, feel relaxed during their regular dental visits.
Colored Retainers
Colored retainers can turn your orthodontic blahs into “aahs.” From glow-in-the-dark and neon to tropical, colored retainers are a hit with adults and teens alike!
Composite Resin Fillings
The 60s ushered in a social revolution and also brought composite resin fillings to the fore. With composite resin fillings, you may never have to see a silver tooth filling in your mouth again!
Computer-Generated Anesthesia
The Wand is a device used to adminster needle-free, computer-generated anesthesia. While it’s not magic, patients who have a fear of needles might think it is!
Conscious Sedation
Need help feeling relaxed during your dental visit? Ask your dentist about conscious sedation — a mild for of sedation dentistry that doesn’t put you under.
Crown Lengthening
Crown lengthening is a type of oral surgery used to reshape a “gummy” smile or prepare a tooth to for a dental crown. Crown lengthening is often performed by a periodontist.
da Vinci Veneers™
Veneers are all the rage, but which brand is right for you? daVinci veneers is a brand you may hear about because they look natural, resist staining and require little to no anesthesia.
You know what a teeth cleaning is, but what the heck is a debridement? A mouth debridement is required to remove heavy deposits of plaque and tartar.
Dental Bonding
Are you embarrassed to smile because of chipped, broken or discolored teeth? Dental bonding could be the quick fix you want. Dental bonding takes just 30-60 minutes per tooth. 
Dental Bridge
First impressions last and nobody wants to be remembered for missing teeth! If you have one or more missing teeth, a dental bridge may be just what you need to get your smile back on track.
Dental Caps
A dental cap is also known as a dental crown. No matter what you call them, dental caps are a great way to repair and restore teeth. Here are answers to common questions about dental caps.
Dental Cleanings
Dental plaque and dental tartar are tough to beat — even if you brush and floss regularly. That’s why your twice yearly dental cleaning is one of the most important parts of your dental care regimen.
Dental Crown
A dental crown is a tried-and-true method for repairing broken teeth, protecting decayed teeth and covering dental implants. It’s time to find out what dental crowns are all about!
Dental Exams & Dental Checkups
The recipe for a healthy smile: brush, floss and regular dental exams. Even if it seems you can’t afford it, there are many ways to make exams and checkups affordable.
Dental Implants
Want to replace missing teeth and never have to think about it again? With permanent dental implants, your smile can look great again — or even better than before!
Dental Inlays
Dental inlays are used to restore teeth that are too damaged to support a tooth filling. Patients love them because they’re more durable than most dental fillings and less costly than a dental crown.
Dental Nerve Blocks
Administering anesthesia, or dental nerve blocks, requires training and skill. But some factors can block the effectiveness of dental nerve blocks — find out which ones.
Dental Onlays
You may have heard of a “partial dental crown,” which is another name for dental onlays. Dental onlays are used to restore large cavities found on or near a tooth’s cusps.
Dental Sealants
Molars are some of our strongest teeth, but that doesn’t mean they don’t need protection. Dental sealants help defend the chewing surfaces of our molars from tooth decay.
Dental Surgery
Dental surgery may be needed to remove painful wisdom teeth or place dental implants. But did you know cosmetic dental surgery can help enhance the appearance of your smile?
Denture Reline
A denture reline is necessary for the longevity of your dentures and the health of your jaw bone and mouth tissues. If your dentures no longer fit, you may need a denture reline.
Considering dentures is no small undertaking and you’ve probably got questions. We can help! Read up on some basic information potential denture wearers should know.
Electronic Anesthesia
Afraid of injections? Electronic anesthesia involves using a low-voltage electrical current for pain relief. Find out what the TENS system is all about.
Enamel Shaping
You could probably think of a number of ways to reshape your body. But did you know that you can also reshape your teeth? Enamel shaping is perfect for improving minor flaws.
Endodontic Retreatment
Dentists and endodontists have been treating inner-tooth disease with root canal therapy for years. But five percent are ineffective and require an endodontic retreatment. Find out why.
To remove a tooth.
Flexible Partial Dentures
Made of a flexible base that easily adapts to the movement of your mouth, flexible partial dentures also offer improved comfort and aesthetics as well as health benefits.
General Anesthesia
When people talk about going under, they’re talking about general anesthesia. General anesthesia is most often used during oral surgery or given to patients with dental anxiety.
Gum surgery isn’t as scary as it sounds! If you suffer from gum disease, a surgical gum disease treatment known as a gingivectomy can restore your smile in less than an hour.
Glow-in-the-Dark Dental Braces
Your smile will really light up a room with glow-in-the-dark dental braces! Glow-in-the-dark braces get their radiance from a pigment that’s applied to the brackets.
Gold Braces
Who says dental braces have to look unattractive? With gold braces, you can add a little somethin’-somethin’ to your smile. Find out why gold braces are a solid option.
Gum Disease Treatment
It’s easy to forget about your gums, but if you ignore them for too long you may need a gum disease treatment. Gum treatments are non-invasive or could require dental surgery depending on the damage.
Gum Grafting
It’s easy to see why periodontists stick to gum grafting: This type of gum disease treatment can eliminate tooth sensitivity, reshape unsightly gum lines and protect your teeth from disease!
Herbal Oral Sedation
Looking for an alternative to traditional sedation dentistry? Herbal oral sedation might be the perfect solution. But remember, herbal oral sedation is not a painkiller!
Homeopathic Sedation
Interested in holistic alternatives to traditional sedation? There are many types of homeopathic sedation dentistry available, each designed to reduce dental anxiety and relieve stress.
Intraosseous Anesthesia
Intraosseous anesthesia numbs without giving you that “fat lip” feeling. Unlike local anesthesia, intraosseous anesthesia is inserted into the bone, causing little to no pain! 
Invisalign is a revolutionary orthodontic system for straightening teeth. Invisalign teeth aligners look radically different and are removable and comfortable to wear, too.
IV Sedation Dentistry
Dental cowards take note: IV sedation dentistry offers a painless way for you to get needed dental care. The best part is you won’t have any memory of the experience after it’s done!
Laser Dentistry
It’s probably been a while since you’ve seen a dental drill. That’s because laser dentistry tools and techniques are now being used to treat a wide variety of dental problems.
Laser Gum Surgery
Your dentist cares about your comfort. To prove this, dentists created a special laser to perform laser gum surgery, a non-invasive form of laser dentistry that requires little to no anesthesia.
Laser Gum Treatment
A laser gum disease treatment is one of the most innovative procedures in modern dentistry. If you’ve shied away from gum treatments before, laser dentistry may make you reconsider.
Laser Surgery
Laser surgery does more with less: Laser dentistry uses a beam of light to clear away bacteria and infection so that patients experience less discomfort and fewer post-op complications.
Laser Teeth Whitening
It’s fast, accurate and virtually pain-free — what’s not to like about laser teeth whitening? By using laser dentistry for teeth whitening, you can brighten your smile 5-10 shades in about an hour.
Laughing Gas
If won’t actually make you laugh, but inhaling nitrous oxide, or “laughing gas,” can help make you feel calm and relaxed before dental treatment.
Lingual Braces
Lingual braces work behind the scenes, literally! Unlike traditional dental braces, lingual braces are placed behind your teeth, making them completely invisible.
Local Anesthesia
At some point in your lifetime of dental care you’ll probably need local anesthesia. Local anesthesia protects you from feeling pain and even dental anxiety!
Low-Charge Evaluation
An informed dental patient is a happy one. With a low-charge evaluation, you can explore your options and get the information you need to make educated decisions.
Microsonic Dental Cleanings
If the scraping from a dental cleaning gets under your skin, try a microsonic cleaning. A microsonic cleaning is faster and more thorough than traditional methods!
Mini Braces
Mini braces are exactly what they sound like: small dental braces. Popular with both adults and teens, mini braces are about 30 percent smaller than traditional metal braces.
Molar Endodontics
Think of molar endodontics as root canal therapy for your molar teeth — the ones in the back of your mouth that are used for chewing. Find out what’s involved in molar endodontics.
If you play sports, you probably have plenty of protective gear for your body. But your mouth needs protection, too. Find out what type of mouthguard is right for you.
Night Guard
Waking up with a headache or jaw pain may be signs that you’re experiencing bruxism, or grinding your teeth in your sleep. A night guard can ease your discomfort and may even save you money.
Nitrous Oxide
Anesthesia numbs; nitrous oxide relaxes. Often used in conjunction with local dental anesthesia, nitrous oxide is a gentle, but effective form of sedation dentistry.
No-Charge Evaluation
A no-charge evaluation is a great way to understand your dental treatment options before scheduling a procedure. Ask your dentist if he or she offers a no-charge evaluation!
Non-Surgical Bite Correction
A misaligned bite (malocclusion) might seem like it requires oral surgery, but it’s not so. In fact, many dentists use different types of non-surgical bite correction to fix “bad bites.”
Novocaine is the most commonly used type of dental anesthesia, but that doesn’t mean it’s right for everyone. Find out what you need to know before receiving novocaine.
NTI Appliance
Prone to migraines? Bruxism or teeth clenching could be the cause, and an NTI appliance could be the cure. An NTI appliance works to suppress clenching!  
Oral Cancer
Early detection of oral cancer can result in an 80-90 percent recovery rate. Even if you’re not at risk, it’s always good to have your dentist check for oral cancer during an exam.
Oral Cancer Exam
The earlier you find out you have oral cancer the better. An oral cancer exam from your dentist is fast, easy and pain-free — and can be done during a regular dental exam.
Oral Sedation
While most forms of sedation dentistry require a shot, oral sedation ushers in relaxation through a pill. With oral sedation, you’ll get dental anxiety relief without having to go under.
Oral Surgery
The term “oral surgery” sounds complicated but can be as simple as a tooth extraction. Oral surgery can also be used to treat sleep apnea and repair a cleft lip/palate.
Orthodontic Retainers
Orthodontic retainers prevent your teeth from shifting once your dental braces are removed. Find out what types of orthodontic retainers are available.
Orthodontics is the area of dentistry that brings killer smiles to life. Find out how orthodontics can be used to craft your ideal smile and improve your dental health.
Partial Dentures
If you need to replace several missing teeth, you may want to consider partial dentures over a full set of dentures. Available in fixed or removable form, partial dentures are a complete solution for missing teeth.
Porcelain Dental Braces
Adults often prefer porcelain dental braces because of their natural-like appearance. But porcelain dental braces may not be right for everyone. Find out why.
Porcelain Dental Veneers
Unlike dental bonding or a dental crown, porcelain dental veneers can completely transform your smile into a picture-perfect, white-hot grin.
Post Crown
The post crown procedure is similar to that of a dental crown — with one extra step. Learn why post crowns are necessary and how your dentist goes about placing one on your tooth.
Power Teeth Whitening
Before you buy a take-home teeth whitening system, consider a power teeth whitening procedure first. Power teeth whitening procedures are fast, effective and long-lasting!
The next time you call your dental office to schedule a dental cleaning try asking for a prophylaxis, it’s the same thing! Prophylaxis is simply the medical term for a dental cleaning.
Pulp Capping
When your tooth’s pulp chamber becomes infected a root canal is often necessary, but not always inevitable. Pulp capping can also be used to prevent further damage.
Regular Dental Visits
Skipping out on regular dental visits may save time but it could cost you money in the long run. With regular dental visits, your dentist can catch problems before they escalate.
Removable Dental Appliances
If you have missing teeth, TMJ or snore, you could benefit from a removable dental appliance, such as a night guard. Find out what types of removable dental appliances are available.
Removable Dental Braces
Traditional dental braces are fixed and usually made of metal. With removable braces, you can take your braces off whenever you eat, drink, brush or floss!
Retainer Therapy
Retainer therapy is used for more than just post-orthodontic dental care. If you have sleep apnea or TMJ, you could find relief with retainer therapy.
Root Canal
Root canals have some nerve; that’s why it’s important to protect them with root canal therapy. Fortunately, modern root canal treatments are now virtually pain-free!
Same-Day Denture Repair
It’s never a good time to damage your dentures. But with same-day denture repair, you may be able to get chipped or broken teeth and other repairs done in a day!
Scaling and Root Planing
Gum disease is caused by a buildup of dental plaque and dental tartar below the gum line. With a gum disease treatment like scaling and root planing, your gums can be restored to a healthy state.
Sedation Dentistry
Sedation dentistry can ease dental anxiety by helping patients feel relaxed during dental treatment. From laughing gas to general anesthesia, you’ve got options!
Sleep Dentistry
Using a mix of pain relievers and sedatives, sleep dentistry lulls you into a relaxed, but conscious state. Sleep dentistry is also known by its other moniker conscious sedation.
Space Maintainers
A space maintainer might be necessary if your child loses baby teeth prematurely. Space maintainers help prevent permanent teeth from growing in crooked.
Spring Retainers
Had dental braces but didn’t wear your retainer? Consider spring retainers! Spring retainers can help shift your teeth back into place after six months.
Straight Wire Braces
Considering dental braces? Straight wire braces may be one of your options. Straight wire braces use a flexible metal wire to shift your teeth into a straighter position.
Surgical Orthodontics
Traditional orthodontics, such as dental braces, straighten teeth. Surgical orthodontics straighten your jaws. Learn the basics of a typical surgical orthodontics dental treatment plan.
Teeth Whitening
Now that teeth whitening is within everyone’s reach, it’s important to understand your options. Use this exclusive tooth whitening guide to get started.
Tooth Extraction
In most cases, your dentist works to save your teeth not extract them. But if your teeth are broken or you don’t have room for wisdom teeth, a tooth extraction may be unavoidable.
Tooth Filling
When you think of a tooth filling silver probably comes to mind. But there are many types of dental fillings available to fit a variety of cosmetic wants and budgetary needs.
Tooth-Colored Dental Fillings
Many people take pride in their silver jewelry, but silver teeth just don’t have the same cache. Fortunately, tooth-colored dental fillings have come to the rescue.
Ultrasonic Dental Cleaning
Have you ever wished that a dental cleaning could take less time and feel more comfortable? An ultrasonic cleaning just might be the perfect solution.
Veneers pack a lot of power into a thin ceramic shell. In just one visit you can transform chipped, discolored and crooked teeth with dental veneers!