Glossary of Cosmetic Dental Terms
infection caused by severe decay, trauma, or gum disease.
You may have pain and swelling, requiring root canal
treatment or surgical intervention.
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.
Disadvantages-color, breaks down in mouth releasing
mercury and other trace metals. Stains teeth over time.
Whitening of teeth with a peroxide based material. May
take from 1 visit to 2 weeks to complete.
The covering of a tooth surface to correct stained or
damaged teeth, by painting a layer of plastic like
material on the tooth. Has limitations for use.
One or more artificial teeth attached, usually on both
sides, by crowns to adjacent teeth. It is used to maintain
space and function for missing teeth. May be made of gold
or porcelain on gold. Usually called a fixed bridge.
Tooth grinding, often caused by stress. Most often done at
night, while sleeping.
Tooth colored resin filling materials. Main advantages-
color, adhesives available to strengthen rather than
weaken tooth. Disadvantages- They have shrinkage, stain
and wear problems, very technique sensitive.
A two visit procedure to repair the decayed area of back
crown or a cap is a cover for a decayed or damaged tooth
made of porcelain and/or metal.
A plastic appliance with plastic or porcelain teeth
attached to it. Used to replace all missing teeth in one
The removal of teeth - may be simple or surgical.
A bump or boil on the gum tissue, which is a tract, in
which an abscessed tooth can drain. A path by which
trapped bacteria can escape from an infected tooth.
Inflammation of the gum tissue caused by plaque and or
tarter build-up. Precursor to periodontitis, if not
Usually associated with a wisdom tooth, it is a tooth that
is submerged under the gum tissue. It may be malpositioned,
and may never erupt.
A titanium cage or screw placed in the bone to replace a
lost tooth or teeth. A crown, bridge, or bar and denture
can be fixed to the implant(s).
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.
The point at which prepared tooth structure ends and
unprepared tooth begins.
A plastic mouthpiece to prevent damage from grinding teeth
at night. May be a hard or soft material.
A removable appliance replacing some missing teeth in one
Advanced gum disease; inflammation of gum tissue, which
causes bone loss resulting in tooth loss if left
to Gold Inlay: A gold inlay covered with
porcelain. Stronger than a pure porcelain inlay.
A two visit procedure where decayed tooth surface is
replaced with tooth colored porcelain.
A crown made entirely of porcelain for maximum
Laminate Veneer: A thin porcelain shell bonded to
the tooth to correct imperfections in shape, color, size,
and position of teeth.
Simple cleaning of teeth with rubber wheel and dental
Therapy: Cleaning out the inside nerve of the
tooth to preserve the tooth. Once the nerve is removed,
the root is filled with a root canal filling material.
The removal of hard deposits, with metal scalers, on the
root surface and smoothing the root surface to allow for
reattachment of the gums to the tooth and ultimately
Plastic coating applied to grooves of teeth to prevent
decay. No age limit.
Fillings: Usually referring to bonded fillings,
porcelain inlays, or porcelain fused to gold inlays.