You’ve made it this far! We appreciate you taking the time to educate yourself with us – here is the fourth post in our multi-part series highlighting common clinical dental terms that you may learn about or hear during your visit. There will be just one final section remaining in this series, so show some love for the end of the alphabet & check in on part five, too. As always, if you notice that we’re missing a particular dental term that you’re interested in or curious about, send us a message and let us know!
P – Terms
Palate: The palate is the hard and soft tissues that form the roof of the mouth; it separates the oral and nasal cavities. We always think ‘palate’ → ‘plate’, food, yum!
Palliative: This refers to an action that relieves pain, but is not curative.
Panoramic Radiograph: An extraoral (outside of the mouth) projection that captures the mandible (lower jaw), maxilla (upper jaw), teeth and other nearby structures in a single image, as if the jaws were flattened out.
Partial Denture: A restoration that replaces usually only a few missing teeth.
Periapical: This refers to the area surrounding the end of the tooth root.
Pericoronal: This refers to the area around the crown of a tooth.
Periodontal Disease: This is the official way of saying ‘gum disease’. It’s a severe infection that seriously damages your soft tissue and can destroy the bone that supports your teeth, if not properly treated. This typically leads to loose teeth or tooth loss. This may also be referred to as periodontitis.
Plaque: This is the soft, sticky substance that accumulates on teeth; composed largely of bacteria and bacterial derivatives.
Posterior: In dentistry, this refers to teeth and tissues located toward the back of the mouth.
Preventive Dentistry: Generally speaking, this refers to the aspects of dentistry that are concerned with promoting good oral health and function by preventing or reducing the onset and/or development of oral diseases or issues. This may include: cleanings, oral treatments, oral screenings, snoring appliances, mouthguards and more.
Prosthesis: In dentistry, this refers to any device or appliance designed to replace one or more missing teeth and/or, if required, associated structures. It’s a broad term that may include: abutment crowns and abutment inlays/onlays, bridges, dentures & more.
Pulp: This is the connective tissue that contains blood vessels and nerve tissue that occupy the cavity of a tooth.
Q – Terms
Quadrant: One of the four equal sections into which the dental arches can be divided; it begins at the midline of the arch and extends to the last tooth.
R – Terms
Radicular: This term is used when referencing anything pertaining to the root.
Radiograph: An image or picture produced on a radiation sensitive film, phosphorous plate, emulsion or digital sensor by exposure to ionizing radiation.
Rebase: This is the process of refitting a denture by replacing the base material.
Reline: This is the process of resurfacing the tissue side of a removable prosthesis with new base material.
Removable Partial Denture: This is a prosthetic replacement of one or more missing teeth that can be removed by the patient.
Resin: A material often used as a denture base material, for trays or for other restorations.
Root: The part of the tooth that extends into the bone and holds the tooth in place.
Root Canal: The natural cavity located within the center of the tooth.
Root Canal Treatment: A treatment designed to repair and save a tooth that is badly decayed or becomes infected. The treatment sequence itself requires removing the infected nerve of a tooth in order to eliminate infection and to protect the decontaminated tooth from future microbial invasion. Once the nerve is removed, the tooth is cleaned and then sealed. After the root canal is completed, the tooth will need either a filling or a crown depending on how much healthy tooth remains.
Root Planing: Also known as deep cleaning and conventional periodontal therapy, root planing is a non-surgical procedure that involves removing dental plaque & calculus, and then smoothing the surfaces of the roots.
Stay tuned for our FINAL installment of common dental terms! As always, please don’t hesitate to contact us at any time with any dental health-related questions.