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Dental Terminology | Hawaii Family Dental

Dental Terminology

Abutment (Implant Fixture)

A tooth or implant fixture used as a support for a prosthesis.

Amalgam (Alloy for Dental Restorations)

An alloy used in direct dental restorations. Typically composed of mercury, silver, tin and copper along with other metallic elements added to improve physical and mechanical properties.

Artificial Crown (Restoration Covering of Clinical Crown)

Restoration covering or replacing the major part, or the whole of the clinical crown of a tooth, or implant.

Benign (Non-threatening)

The mild or non-threatening character of an illness or the non-malignant character of a neoplasm.

Biopsy (Removing Tissue)

Process of removing tissue for histologic evaluation.

Calculus (Mineralized Substance Adhering to Crowns)
Hard deposit of mineralized substance adhering to crowns and/or roots of teeth or prosthetic devices.
Canal (Narrow Tubular Passage)

A relatively narrow tubular passage or channel.

Caries (Tooth Decay)

Commonly used term for tooth decay.

Cavity (Missing Tooth Structure)

Missing tooth structure. A cavity may be due to decay, erosion or abrasion. If caused by caries; also referred to as carious lesion.

Claim Form (Form to File for Benefits)

A form, paper or electronic, used to report dental procedures to a third-party payer in order to file for benefits under a dental benefit program.

Clenching (Clamping of Jaws)

The clamping and pressing of the jaws and teeth together in centric occlusion, frequently associated with psychological stress or physical effort.

Crown (Artificial Replacement that Restores Missing Tooth)

An artificial replacement that restores missing tooth structure by surrounding the remaining coronal tooth structure, or is placed on a dental implant. It is made of metal, ceramic or polymer materials or a combination of such materials. It is retained by luting cement or mechanical means.

Decay (Decomposition of Tooth Structure)

The lay term for carious lesions in a tooth; decomposition of tooth structure.

Dependents (Spouse and Children of Dental Benefit Covered Individual)

Generally spouse and children of covered individual, as defined by terms of the dental benefit contract.

Extraction (Removing Tooth)

The process or act of removing a tooth or tooth parts.

Filling (Restoring Lost Tooth Structure)

A lay term used for the restoring of lost tooth structure by using materials such as metal, alloy, plastic or porcelain.

Gingivitis (Inflammation of Gingival Tissue)

Inflammation of gingival tissue without loss of connective tissue.

Impacted Tooth (Tooth Positioned Against Another so That Complete Eruption is Unlikely)

An unerupted or partially erupted tooth that is positioned against another tooth, bone, or soft tissue so that complete eruption is unlikely.

Implant (Material Inserted Into Tissue)

Material inserted or grafted into tissue.

Intraoral (Inside The Mouth)

Inside the mouth.

Lesion (Area of Diseased Tissue)

An injury or wound; area of diseased tissue.

Malocclusion (Improper Alignment of Biting)

Improper alignment of biting or chewing surfaces of upper and lower teeth.

Maximum Plan Benefit (Reimbursement Level for a Specific Dental Procedure)

The reimbursement level determined by the administrator of a dental benefit plan for a specific dental procedure.

Molar (Teeth Posterior on Sides of Jaw)

Teeth posterior to the premolars (bicuspids) on either side of the jaw; grinding teeth, having large crowns and broad chewing surfaces.

Mouthguard (Mouth Protector Worn to Prevent Injury)

Individually molded device designed primarily to be worn for the purpose of helping prevent injury to the teeth and their surrounding tissues. Sometimes called a mouth protector.

Occlusion (Any Contact Between Upper and Lower Teeth)

Any contact between biting or chewing surfaces of maxillary (upper) and mandibular (lower) teeth.

Periodontal Disease (Inflammatory Process of Gingival Tissue)

Inflammatory process of the gingival tissues and/or periodontal membrane of the teeth, resulting in an abnormally deep gingival sulcus, possibly producing periodontal pockets and loss of supporting alveolar bone.

Plaque (Soft Sticky Bacterial Substance on Teeth)

A soft sticky substance that accumulates on teeth composed largely of bacteria and bacterial derivatives.

Primary Payer (Third Party Payer with Initial Responsibility)

The third party payer determined to have initial responsibility in a benefit determination.

Prophylaxis (Removal of Plaque/Stains)

Removal of plaque, calculus and stains from the tooth structures. It is intended to control local irritational factors.

Reimbursement (Payment Made by Third Party to Beneficiary to Offset Expenses)

Payment made by a third party to a beneficiary or to a dentist on behalf of the beneficiary, to offset expenses incurred for a service covered by the dental benefit plan.

Root (Radicular Portion of Tooth)

The anatomic portion of the tooth that is covered by cementum and is located in the alveolus (socket) where it is attached by the periodontal apparatus; radicular portion of tooth.

Root Canal (Pulf Cavity Inside the Root of Tooth)

The portion of the pulp cavity inside the root of a tooth; the chamber within the root of the tooth that contains the pulp.

Root Planing (Definitive Procedure to Remove Cementum)

A definitive treatment procedure designed to remove cementum and/or dentin that is rough, may be permeated by calculus, or contaminated with toxins or microorganisms.

Scaling (Removal of Plaque/Calculus/Stain from Teeth)

Removal of plaque, calculus, and stain from teeth.

Sealant (Resin Applied to Occlusal Surface of Posterior Teeth)

A resinous material designed to be applied to the occlusal surfaces of posterior teeth to prevent occlusal caries.

Treatment plan (Guide for Patient’s Care)

The sequential guide for the patient’s care as determined by the dentist’s diagnosis and is used by the dentist for the restoration to and/or maintenance of optimal oral health.

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