San Diego Smile Dentistry | Dental Glossary
Learn about some of the most common dental procedures.
dentist, dentists, dental implants, cosmetic dentist, dentist office, san diego, fillings, Invisalign, clear correct, emergency
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Glossary

HERE ARE SOME COMMON TERMS YOU’LL HEAR

learn about some of the most common procedures

Bridges

To replace missing teeth, fake teeth are attached to connecting crowns that attach to the patients existing teeth. The connecting crowns are made by removing an outer layer of tooth structure to make room for crowns.

Crowns

Crowns are used when a tooth is badly broken, has a large cavity, or has had a root canal so it needs to be better protected. A crown covers the entire tooth. A layer is removed all around the tooth and replaced with a crown. It is usually made of metals, with porcelain added to the surface to imitate the color of a tooth or is made of all porcelain.

Dentures

If you have lost some or all of your natural teeth, dentures can be used to replace your missing teeth – improving your health as well as your appearance. Dentures prevent the sagging of facial muscles, which can make a person with missing teeth look much older. Dentures also enable you to eat and speak normally, little things often taken for granted until natural teeth are lost.

Every morning before you insert your dentures, brush your gums, tongue, and palate with a soft-bristled brush to stimulate circulation in your tissues and to help remove plaque. Regular dental checkups are needed so we can examine your mouth and dentures to ensure a healthy and comfortable fit.

Fillings

There are 2 main types of fillings. Composite and Amalgam. Composite fillings are tooth colored and are a newer type of filling. Amalgam fillings are silver colored and have been around for over a hundred years.

Which one should I choose?

In our opinion, composite fillings are superior for 3 main reasons:

1) Less natural tooth structure needs to be removed.

2) Look much, much better

3) The strength of the newer generation composite fillings is comparable to amalgam.

Implants

Dental implants are a great way to replace missing teeth. A titanium post is placed into your jaw and imitates the root of your tooth, actually becoming biologically apart of your jaw. Then a fake tooth is placed on the titanium post to imitate your tooth.

Implant Supported Dentures

Dentures can be very difficult to wear, particularly in those who have worn them for a long time. To greatly improve the retention of dentures, patients can choose to have implants placed into the jaw, which then connect to the denture.

Onlay

These are usually porcelain pieces that replace missing tooth structure that was removed because of a cavity or previous filling needing replacement or fractured tooth. In many ways these could be considered stronger fillings. Like fillings they replace portions of missing tooth structure, but are made of a stronger material. They fit like a jigsaw puzzle piece into the tooth and are cemented in place.

Inlay

These are usually porcelain pieces that replace missing tooth structure that was removed because of a cavity or previous filling needing replacement or fractured tooth. In many ways these could be considered stronger fillings. Like fillings they replace portions of missing tooth structure, but are made of a stronger material. They fit like a jigsaw puzzle piece into the tooth and are cemented in place.

Partial Dentures

These are used to replace missing teeth. They have many positive attributes besides the obvious of replacing missing teeth.

1) They can keep your remaining teeth from tilting and moving into bad positions.

2) They can improve eating ability

3) They can improve looks by not only replacing missing teeth but also keeping lips and cheeks in proper position.

Periodontal Disease (Gum Disease)

This disease is caused by bacteria that invade the gums. When the bacteria are not able to be removed by daily brushing and flossing, they invade the gums and can cause bone loss, bleeding, infection. Research has show a link between periodontal disease and cardiovascular disease (i.e. heart disease, stroke), as well as pre-term births.

Root Canal

In the center of all teeth, there is pulpal tissue (where the nerve of the tooth is located), that can become infected and/or cause severe pain. In order to save the tooth from extraction and prevent pain, the pulpal tissue is removed and cleaned. Afterwards an inert material replaces the removed tissue.

Veneer

A veneer is a thin shell of porcelain that can be made into almost any shape and color and covers only the area of the tooth that can normally be seen.

Teeth Whitening/Bleaching

Everyone loves a bright, white smile. Today there are a variety of products and procedures available to help you improve the color of your teeth. Some whitening procedures, are done in our office with one visit. Other whitening agents can be purchased over-the-counter, however this type of whitening does not whiten your teeth as quickly or as effectively as those delivered by your dentist.

Want to learn more or have a question?