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Glossary

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 (but not in our office). Disadvantages- expansion/contraction of metallic substance, color, breaks down in 10-20 years, just plain ugly.

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.

BPR (Bonded porcelain restoration)
This type of restoration is relatively new in dentistry, and is possible now with advanced bonding materials. It resembles tooth structure so well, that you will completely forget which tooth has been restored. It is very conservative, as it only removes the compromised and defective tooth structure, and lends strength to what remains. It is also a lab-fabricated restoration, so a temporary will be worn during its construction.

Bridge
One or more artificial 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.

Nightguard
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 horizontal plane front to back. Normal is 0 to 1mm.

Porcelain Onlays
A restorative option done to replace one, more, or all of your posterior tooth cusps if fractured or lost due to trauma or decay. The final result is most esthetic and discreet. In comparison to a crown, an onlay is more conservative in regards to the amount of total tooth structure removal that is required. We love conserving tooth structure, ask if you are eligible!

Prophy
Simple cleaning of teeth with hand instruments, sometimes a cavitating and/or baking soda spraying instrument, rubber wheel and dental toothpaste.

Root Canal Therapy
Cleaning out the inside tube of the tooth to preserve the teeth.

Root Planing
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...