Glossary


 

Accelerated Orthodontics (accelerated braces)

Periodontal surgery and procedures that slim and contour the teeth may be used to create extra room in the mouth for an accelerated orthodontic treatment. An accelerated orthodontics patient will wear braces for only four to eight months.

At-Home Teeth Whitening

Tooth bleaching can remove stains and areas of discoloration from the teeth. At-home tooth whitening patients are provided with trays fitted to their mouths and a peroxide-based tooth whitening solution. At-home tooth whitening usually takes between two and three weeks.

Composite Resin Fillings

Amalgam fillings and gold fillings are becoming obsolete as more patients choose to go with composite resin “tooth-colored” fillings. Composite resin fillings can be made to match the color of a patient’s natural tooth. Composite resin fillings have rendered the silver fillings that were once telling signs of cavities unnecessary.

Cosmetic Gum Surgery (visible gum line)

Cosmetic gum surgery can help patients with smiles that show more gum than tooth to achieve a more attractive smile. In this procedure extra gum tissue is removed with a laser in order to expose more of the tooth’s surface.

Cosmetic Gum Surgery (receding gum line)

As a result of age, gum disease, or a misaligned bite, patients may experience a gradual receding of the gums. This may cause discomfort as roots become exposed and loosening of the teeth occurs. To repair receding gums the cosmetic dentist will graft tissue taken from the roof of the mouth to the gum line. This “new” gum line will hold teeth in place and protect tooth roots from damage.

Damon Brackets

Treatment for orthodontic patients can be accelerated through the use of Damon brackets, which enable the wire adjusting the teeth to slide back and forth.

Dental Bonding

Dental bonding can repair chips and cracks in teeth, and cover areas of discoloration. During the procedure a composite resin is applied to the tooth, layer-by-layer, and dried and hardened with a laser. The dentist will smooth and polish the bonded material once it has set.

Dental Bridges

Dental bridges are used to replace missing teeth in a patient’s mouth. A dental bridge usually consists of two crowns with a false tooth “bridged” between. The dentist places the crowns on the teeth adjacent to the gap for strength and stability. Other options for replacing missing teeth include partial dentures and dental implants.

Dental Caps or Crowns

If a tooth is extremely damaged, a dental cap, or crown, may be used to restore its appearance and strength. Crowns cover the entire tooth and seal chipped or broken areas.

Dental Contouring

During this procedure the cosmetic dentist reshapes individual teeth using a laser or sanding drill and abrasive strips. Reshaping or narrowing the teeth may help with crowding or misalignment. Bonding may be used to complete the look, widening teeth where necessary. Dental contouring is used by some as an alternative to braces.

Dental Implants

Dental implants are used to replace missing teeth. A dental implant is a false tooth that is permanently secured to the jaw. A small titanium rod will be fixed into the jawbone, and once the jawbone has adhered to the structure, a false tooth will be attached to it.

Dentures (over dentures, full dentures, and partial dentures)

Full dentures and partial dentures can be used to replace teeth that are missing. Dentures can be made to look and feel like real teeth, and are individually fitted to each patient’s mouth. Over dentures are fitted over remaining teeth and are more stable than full dentures. For full dentures, some remaining teeth may need to be extracted. Partial dentures are used for patients who have lost relatively few teeth. They prevent shifting of other teeth and recreate the smile.

Full Mouth Reconstruction

Patients with severe dental problems are candidates for a full mouth reconstruction. Full mouth reconstructions combine the aesthetics of cosmetic dentistry with the science of restorative dentistry to improve the health, function, and beauty of the smile. Orthodontics may also be employed to help properly position the jaw.

Endodontics

Endodontics is the field of dentistry that deals with the internal tissues of the teeth. Root canals are the most well known procedures performed by an endodontist.

Gold Crowns

Because gold is malleable but h2, it can be used to make very effective dental crowns. Gold crowns, unlike porcelain crowns, do not chip. Porcelain crowns, however, are often favored by patients who wish to maintain a white, natural looking smile.

Inlays/Onlays

Dental inlays and onlays are materials used to strengthen and repair decayed or otherwise damaged rear teeth. They can be made of an attractive porcelain material and are ideal for restoring cracked or fractured teeth.

Invisalign®

Clear plastic aligners are used in the Invisalign® system to straighten teeth in 18 to 30 two-week sessions. These “invisible braces” adjust the teeth in increments.

Laser Tooth Whitening

For accelerated tooth whitening, many patients take advantage of in-office laser tooth whitening procedures. During the dental visit, a patient’s teeth will be coated in a peroxide-based solution and a laser will be used to “activate” it, resulting in a whitening of the teeth.

Orthodontics (Braces)

Braces take an average of one to two years to straighten tilted, crowded, and misaligned teeth. Orthodontic treatment may be used to improve a bite or reduce pressure on crowded teeth. The number of options for orthodontic patients has increased in recent years. Transparent ceramic brackets and “invisible braces,” for example, now make braces a viable solution for many adult dental patients.

Periodontal Disease

Periodontal “gum” disease is caused by a bacterial infection that can irreversibly damage the teeth. If periodontal disease is caught in its early stages, it can be treated with regularly scheduled dental cleanings; surgical intervention may become necessary if the disease has begun to affect the supporting bone beneath the gums.

Porcelain Crowns

Porcelain crowns are widely used because they can be made to look very similar to natural teeth. The translucency of porcelain mimics the appearance of natural tooth enamel. Because porcelain crowns do not involve the use of any metal, the occurrence of a dark line next to the gums can be eliminated.

Porcelain Veneers

Porcelain veneers are thin porcelain shells that may be used to cover chipped, cracked or discolored teeth. Porcelain veneers are attached to the front of teeth with a bonding cement and set with a blue light.

Root Canals

When a patient’s tooth becomes infected, a root canal may be performed to remove the infected sections. After the infected material has been removed, the tooth will be filled with sealing material and a temporary filling will be placed. After the dentist is satisfied that the infection has been removed, a permanent crown or filling will be used to seal and support the tooth.

Sedation Dentistry

Sedation dentistry refers to the use of nitrous oxide, I.V. drugs, or oral sedatives during dental treatment. Sedation dentistry is helpful for patients with dental anxiety, those who have difficulty controlling their movements, and anyone who has a limited time to complete dental treatment.

Teeth Whitening

Procedures such as laser tooth whitening and at-home tooth whitening have made beautiful teeth a reality for many people. New techniques that accelerate teeth whitening and make the process more convenient are now available.

Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ)

The temporomandibular joint connects the jawbone to the skull. When these joints are stressed or stop functioning properly, they can cause headaches, jaw pain, earaches, neck aches, and difficulty chewing.