Glossary

Dental Glossary

Philadelphia Dental Arts is proud to serve patients of all ages with quality dental health services.Our practice is dedicated to providing our patients with the tools and resources they need to understand and take charge of their dental health.

Please view the glossary terms below for more information on common dental terms and issues. We hope you find this information helpful. For additional questions or concerns regarding you or your child’s oral health, please contact us today by calling 215.554.6830.

A dental bridge is a dental restoration used to replace a missing tooth. They cement to the natural teeth surrounding the empty space where the tooth once was, and ‘bridge’ the gap. Bridges are a great option for repairing the holes in your smile. Due to regular wear, bridges may eventually need to be replaced or re-cemented.

Cosmetic bonding is a process in which an enamel-like dental composite material is used to repair a tooth that is decayed, discolored, chipped or fractured. The tooth-colored material is applied to the tooth’s surface, sculpted into shape and polished to blend in with existing teeth.

Dental bleaching, also know as tooth whitening, is a common general and cosmetic dental treatment that helps to create brighter and whiter teeth. As a person ages, their adult teeth often become stained and darker due to changes in their mineral structure as well as coffee, tea, red wine and tobacco use.

Dental bonding is a restorative technique used to repair cracked, chipped or damaged teeth. It restores aesthetics and strength to a tooth. During the procedure, your dentist will apply a tooth-colored resin material to a tooth, and then harden it with a special light. This creates a bond between the material and the tooth, and improves the overall appearance of teeth.

Dental bonding is a restorative technique used to repair cracked, chipped or damaged teeth. It restores aesthetics and strength to a tooth. During the procedure, your dentist will apply a tooth-colored resin material to a tooth, and then harden it with a special light. This creates a bond between the material and the tooth, and improves the overall appearance of teeth.

Dental crowns are used to protect weakened teeth from cracking or breaking. For baby teeth, crowns are usually prefabricated, then fitted and trimmed right here in our office. If we have to perform a procedure where some or all of the pulp area of a tooth is removed, this often does not leave enough of the original tooth structure intact. This means a crown must be used. Primary (baby) teeth are so small that when a tooth suffers from serious decay, a crown must be used to preserve structure and function.

Dental implants are a restorative option for missing teeth. Typically made of titanium, an implant is a “root” device used to support tooth restorations, such as a crown or bridge, that are replacing missing teeth.

Dental sealants provide protection to the pitted and grooved surfaces of the teeth. Using a clear or shaded plastic, a dentist applies the sealants to help keep teeth cavity-free. This is especially effective on the chewing surfaces of back teeth, where most cavities are found. Cleaning the surfaces of back teeth can be difficult or sometimes impossible, which can cause food and bacteria to build up in the crevices. This leaves your or your child’s teeth in danger of tooth decay. Sealants reduce the risk of decay by sealing out food and plaque.

When properly cared for, dental sealants can last for many years. Good oral hygiene habits will help sealants last longer.

Dentures, or false teeth, are prosthetic devices that are made to replace missing teeth. Dentures can either be full or partial, fixed or removable, and are supported by surrounding tissues of the oral cavity.

While digital x-ray equipment is much more expensive than traditional x-rays, it offers patients tremendous advantages, including less exposure to radiation, better picture quality, shorter “chair time”, better dental records and no resulting hazardous waste disposal. The digital images allow us to enlarge images for better view and can be instantly manipulated to help our team make a better diagnosis, which results in better care and better treatment.

In dentistry, an inlay is an indirect restoration used to replace old fillings that lies within the cusps, or bumps, on the chewing surface of the tooth. On the other hand, an onlay is larger than an inlay and extends over the cusps of the treated tooth. Both options can be made of gold, composite resin or ceramic and can last for over 10 years.

Periodontal disease is a chronic bacterial infection that affects the gums and bones supporting the teeth. While you may think gum disease only affects adults, the first stage of periodontal disease, gingivitis, has been found in children and teens. The main cause of gum disease is bacterial plaque, which is a sticky, colorless film that is constantly forming on your teeth.

If not treated, gingivitis can lead to periodontitis, which affects a child’s first molars and incisors. If left untreated in children or adults, periodontal disease can lead to tooth loss.

Porcelain veneers, also referred to as dental veneers or porcelain laminates, are thin shells that cover the front side of teeth. They can make dark teeth lighter, yellow teeth whiter and stained teeth look healthier. They’re also a great option for crooked or chipped teeth. Custom-made for each patient, veneers are stain-resistant and look and feel like natural teeth.

Sleep dentistry takes the anxiety out of necessary dental procedures and is especially helpful for patients with special needs or who are physically or mentally handicapped. In sleep dentistry, all dental work is performed in a hospital-like setting where general anesthesia is only administered and monitored by a professional. If you believe that you or your child would benefit from sleep dentistry, please contact our office for more information.

There are many different factors that can cause tooth discoloration. An abnormally colored tooth is anything other than the yellowish-white to white color of normal teeth. The factors that contribute to tooth color include congenital conditions, genetics, infections, and environmental factors. Teeth may be uniformly discolored or it may appear as spots or lines in enamel. In addition, discolored areas may have a different density and porosity than normal enamel.