Thank you for tuning into the second post in a multi-part series highlighting common clinical dental terms that you may learn about or hear during your visit. Just a reminder that these sections will appear in alphabetical order, so if you notice that we’re missing a particular term that you’re interested in or curious about, just let us know and we’ll address it!
F – Terms
Filling: A filling refers to the act of restoring lost tooth structure by using materials like metal, alloy, plastic or porcelain.
Fixed Partial Denture: A fixed partial denture is a prosthetic replacement of one or more missing teeth cemented or otherwise attached to the abutment natural teeth or their implant replacements.
Follow-Up Care: Any care that is provided after a procedure; a service whose nature, scope and timing is determined by the clinical and professional judgment of the dentist. This may seem self-explanatory, but may also be referred to as: normal post-operative follow-up; routine follow-up or post-operative care.
Fracture: In dentistry, this typically refers to the breaking or cracking of a tooth.
G – Terms
General Anesthesia: This is a drug-induced loss of consciousness during which patients are not arousable, even by painful stimulation. The ability to independently maintain ventilatory function is often impaired. Patients typically require assistance in maintaining a patent airway, and positive pressure ventilation may be required because of drug-induced depression of neuromuscular function. Do note that in certain cases, cardiovascular function may be impaired.
Gingivitis: This is a form of gum disease that causes inflamed gums & is generally caused by poor oral hygiene. Untreated gingivitis can lead to tooth loss and other serious conditions. Symptoms of gingivitis may include: gums that are swollen, puffy, receding, sometimes tender, or that bleed easily. Treatment for gingivitis typically involves a professional cleaning in combination with oral rinses.
Graft: In dentistry, this is a procedure that is performed to replace bone loss in the jaw that anchors teeth using one or more different bone grafting options. Dental surgeries may require bone growth in the upper jaw, such as a sinus augmentation or a ridge augmentation. There are also gingival grafts/soft tissue grafts. Gingival grafting, or gum grafting, refers to the performance of various periodontal surgical procedures where the gum tissue is grafted, often in an effort to cover exposed root surfaces. A soft tissue graft is used to protect the tooth root by adding tissue to cover the roots from a donor source, usually the roof of the mouth or adjacent gum tissue.
Gum Disease: This is the inflammation of the soft tissue (gingiva) and abnormal loss of bone that surrounds the teeth and holds them in place. Also known as periodontitis, it is a serious gum infection that damages gums and can destroy the jawbone. Common, but fairly preventable, it’s typically caused by poor oral hygiene and can lead to tooth loss, as well as be a contributing factor to heart and lung diseases. Symptoms include: swollen, red & tender gums. Treatment for gum disease includes: professionally cleaning the pockets around the teeth to prevent damage to surrounding bone; do note that advanced cases may require surgery.
H – Terms
HIPAA: This acronym stands for Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. It was established in 1996 and protects a patient’s privacy as well as coverage for workers and their families when they change or lose their jobs.
HMO: This acronym stands for Health Maintenance Organization. It is a type of dental insurance coverage that accepts financial responsibility for providing dental services to those covered under their policy. Care is provided by providers listed as acceptable through the HMO.
I – Terms
Imaging: When it comes to diagnostic dentistry, imaging may include: CAT scans, MRIs, photographs, and radiographs.
Immediate Denture: This refers to a prosthesis constructed for placement immediately after removal of remaining natural teeth.
Impacted Tooth: An unerupted or partially erupted tooth that is positioned against another tooth, bone, or soft tissue; this makes complete eruption unlikely.
Implant: Material that is inserted or grafted into tissue. A dental implant is a device that is specially designed to be placed surgically within or on the mandibular or maxillary bone as a means of providing location and support for dental replacement prosthesis.
Implantation: This is the placement of an artificial or natural tooth into an alveolus, which is the bony socket for the root of the tooth.
Incisor: This is a tooth that is located in the front of the mouth (in both jaws) that is used for cutting or gnawing.
Inlay: This is a restoration that is hardened and shaped before it goes into your tooth. This process involves taking an impression of your tooth and its neighboring teeth after the decay has been removed. The materials available for this process are gold, composite resin and ceramic. They offer a stronger, longer lasting alternative to filling materials and are cemented (glued) or bonded into the tooth once they are properly fitted.
Intraoral: This refers to anything within the inside of your mouth.
J – Terms
Jaw: This is the skeletal structure that makes up the upper and lower frame of the mouth and contains the teeth. It can also be used to describe the part of the face that covers these structures, and is also referred to as a ‘mandible’ or ‘maxilla’.
Stay tuned for upcoming posts about common dental terms – there are several future installments remaining that you’ll want to bookmark! As always, please don’t hesitate to contact us at any time with any dental health-related questions.