Dental Glossary


  • Biannual checkups and cleanings– Over the course of time, plaque and calculus become attached to our teeth, and are unable to be removed with a toothbrush and floss. Plaque and calculus create an environment for bacteria to thrive, which can lead to tooth decay and gum disease. It is recommended to get a professional cleaning every 6 months to insure good dental health. After the cleaning, your dentist will examine your mouth.
  • Professional teeth whitening – In our experience, we have found the take-home bleaching systems to be more effective and longer lasting. We will make impressions, fabricate trays customized for your mouth, and provide the whitening gel to help you obtain the smile you desire.
  • Fabrication of custom night guards and athletic guards – During normal teeth function (chewing, drinking, talking), teeth can exert 5-44 psi of force on each other. For patients who brux (grind or clench), the load on teeth can exceed 500 psi! This excessive force can affect teeth, muscles and joints. We can make an impression and fabricate you a custom night guard to help prevent these painful effects. We can also provide you with customized athletic guards for all your sporting needs.
  • Dental restorations (fillings) – when a tooth gets a cavity, the decay needs to be removed in order to prevent it from spreading. A restoration is what is used to seal the area where the cavity was. We provide both amalgam (silver) and composite (tooth colored) restorations.
  • Dental extractions – Due to a large cavity, periodontal disease, trauma, or other factors, a tooth may not be able to be saved. In these cases your dentist may recommend that you have a tooth extracted. Many of these teeth we extract in our office.
  • Root canal therapy – When a cavity invades the pulpal canal (nerve) of the tooth, it causes a bacterial infection which can result in pain and swelling. In order to get rid of this infection, root canal therapy is indicated. This procedure involves removing the affected nerve from inside the tooth, cleaning and disinfecting the area, and sealing it to guard against bacteria invading the space again.
  • Periodontal treatment – Plaque is formed from bacteria in our mouths and if not removed regularly, can harden and cause swelling of the gums, loss of bone, and in severe cases, tooth loss. In patients with bone loss, a deep cleaning (called scaling and root planing) may be recommended to remove the plaque and calculus from below the gums.
  • Porcelain Veneers – Porcelain veneers are thin pieces of porcelain placed over your natural teeth in the front of your mouth. They are often the treatment of choice for patients who want to make slight changes to the appearance, color, shape or size of a tooth.
  • Crowns and bridges – For teeth that have extremely large fillings or have had root canal therapy, your dentist may recommend placing a crown (or “cap”). A crown is placed over top of your natural tooth, and holds it together to provide a strong, uniform surface. A bridge is 3 or more crowns that are joined together and may be an option to replace a missing tooth or teeth.
  • Dental implant treatment planning and restoration – Dental implants are a great option for replacing missing teeth. A dental implant is a screw that is surgically placed in the jawbone. This screw acts as an artificial root of a tooth, and after allowing time for the screw to integrate with your bone, a crown is placed on the implant to restore the missing tooth. We work with a specialist to plan the placement of the implant, and we will place the crown on the implant for you.
  • Dentures – Dentures can be taken out and put back into your mouth and are replacements for multiple missing teeth. There are 2 types of dentures: 1) complete dentures replace every tooth in an arch (top or bottom) 2) removable partial dentures are recommended when some natural teeth remain. Dentures also can be paired with implants so that they will stay in your mouth more securely.