It’s a new year and so felt it was a good time to update our A to Z list of some common dental terms you likely hear from us – or your dentist – at least from time to time.
Enjoy our dental terms list and please comment if there has any term you have heard and would like defined OR that you think should be included in our next Dental Terms A to Z list!
Part 2 covers L – Z dental terms. A – K were covered in Part 1!
L – Lumineers
Lumineers are the more modern take on porcelain veneers. Lumineers are super-thin, contact-lens-type crowns for the teeth. Like veneers, Lumineers are permanent and can be used to straighten teeth or cover discolored teeth. However, unlike traditional veneers, Lumineers require very little filing of the original or base tooth / teeth, reducing the likelihood of future complications and giving a more natural appearance to the crowned teeth.
M – Malocclusion
Ever been told you or your children has malocclusion? While this might sound very bad, it just means a misaligned bite. In other words, malocclusion is just a bite that is crooked due to the teeth or alignment of the jaw. Most malocclusion can be fixed with most types of braces available today.
N – Night Guard
Has your dentist mentioned that you grind your teeth? Or do you notice that your back teeth are shorter than the surrounding teeth and have rough, jagged, edges? The official name for this situation or condition is called bruxism and can cause headaches, TMJ, ringing of the ears, and can even make you look older.
Night guards are mouth guards that help to prevent bruxism and/or further damage from tooth grinding. Some night guards can be bought in the drug store, over the counter. However, the best ones are available only from your dentist and are custom-fitted to you, your mouth, and your specific bite.
O – Orthodontics
Orthodontics is the specialty dental practice of straightening the teeth or malocclusion. Orthodontists have additional dental training in diagnosing the cause of malocclusion or crooked teeth and the best strategies for your specific orthodontic problems. Certain orthodontic appliance systems also have their own specialty training and requirements for offering their program to clients.
An example of such a system is Invisalign – a clear, retainer-type, sequence of removable “aligners” designed specifically for the patient’s situation. Another is Fastbraces—a specialty braces system designed to straighten the teeth and/or bite faster than any other braces on the market today. (Here at Cigno, we are official providers of both Invisalign and Fastbraces.)
P – Periodontist
A Periodontist is another specialty dental professional who focuses on illnesses and issues with the gums, bones, and the teeth. A Periodontist is commonly the type of dental expert who deals with implant dentistry.
Q – Quick Braces (Fastbraces)
R – Root Canal
Sometimes, when gum disease has become so severe that the root of the tooth has decayed or become abscessed, a root canal may be required. In a root canal, the attending dental professional goes under the tooth, cleans out the decay and infection, and fills it with a substance to prevent it from decaying further or causing additional health problems.
S – Sedation Dentistry
There are some people who just absolutely despise – or even fear – going to the dentist. They might be afraid of or dislike the pain, dental “noises”, or really, any number of things. Sedation dentistry uses specialized techniques or medications to relax the patient to a degree, making the process more bearable.
For those with significant dental anxiety, there are even options that make it so the patient does not recall the dental visit at all. Sedation dentistry has made it possible for those who might have previously forgone dental care, to still get their dental needs addressed and met, without stress.
T – Tooth Whitening
Professional tooth whitening allows the teeth to be made whiter – by several shades – in a single visit. Like braces, professional tooth whitening has come a long way. Even in the dental office, it can usually be done in under an hour and results are usually instantly – and significantly – noticeable. Furthermore, in many professional whitening programs, patients are sent home with custom trays and additional professional whitening serums or pastes, to maintain their in-office results.
U – UCR
UCR is something you might see on your dental insurance EOB (explanation of benefits). It stands for Usual, Customary, and Reasonable rates. Insurance companies often use UCR to determine how much they will pay for services and thus, what your portion will be.
V – Veneers
Veneers are thin plastic or porcelain covers for the teeth to improve their appearance. Veneers can be used for discoloration, small chips, spots, or even to straighten teeth.
W – Wisdom Teeth
Wisdom teeth are the far back molars that come in between ages 18 and 25. Wisdom teeth are often removed because they may overcrowd the mouth, harming the bite / alignment and/or creating additional problems such as headaches or TMJ. Especially if the patient has previously worn braces, removal of the wisdom teeth will likely be recommended.
X – Xerostomia
This is just a real fancy word for dry mouth. Similar to halitosis, it can be acute or chronic.
Y – Yellowing
Yellowing of teeth can happen for any number of reasons. Medication is a common culprit, as are coffee, tea, sodas, wine, and tobacco. Yellowing starts out temporary but if left unchecked, can become permanent. Some yellowing may be removed with whitening toothpastes or over-the-counter whitening options. However, more serious or long-term yellowing can only be resolved with professional tooth whitening.
Z – Zero
There are zero dental words we can think of that start with “Z.” How about you? Any ideas?
We hope you enjoyed this list of A – Z Dental Terms. Remember, this was Part 2. If you have not checked out Part 1 yet, you can find it here: http://www.cignodental.com/2017-z-list-popular-dental-terms-milwaukee-area-dentist-dr-tony-cigno-part-1/