Dental Terms Glossary

A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | QS | U | V | W | X | Y | Z

A

Abrasion The loss of tooth structure (enamel) and gum caused by a hard toothbrush, poor brushing technique or bruxism (grinding or clenching the teeth). The expert hygienists at McDonald & Middleton Dental teach appropriate brushing techniques and our great dentists excel at identifying those that suffer from excess teeth grinding or clenching (bruxism). Protect your teeth, learn proper brushing techniques, make an appointment with McDonald & Middleton Dental today for a cleaning and oral exam.

 

Abscess A localized infection in the bone or soft gum tissues; usually occurs at the end of the root tip. Ouch! Abscesses can become serious infections that can cause tooth loss and bone damage. If you suspect you are suffering from an abscess, make an appointment with McDonald & Middleton Dental today. Our expert dentists will help you get a handle on your abscess or infection and act to control further damage to teeth, gum and bone.

 

Abutment The natural tooth that remains to hold in place a fixed or removable bridge.

 

Alveolar Bone The jaw bone that anchors the roots of teeth.

 

Amalgam A common metal material used in fillings to repair cavities in teeth usually consisting of a mixture of silver and mercury and other materials. Amalgam fillings are proven to be safe, cost-effective and durable. McDonald & Middleton Dental offers both amalgam (metal) and composite (white / metal free) fillings. Consult one of our experienced dentists to determine which type of filling is best for you.

 

Analgesia An agent that lessens pain without loss of consciousness. Example, novacaine or similar number agents. McDonald & Middleton Dental thoroughly numbs affected areas prior to beginning treatment in order to make your visit as stress and pain free as possible.

 

Anterior Teeth The six upper or six lower front teeth.

 

Antibiotic A drug that stops or slows the growth of bacteria.

 

Apex The tip of the root of a tooth.

 

Apicoectomy The surgical removal of the root tip to treat a dead tooth.

Attrition The normal wearing down of the surface of a tooth from chewing and natural wear.

B

Base The cement placed under a dental restoration to insulate the nerve chamber.

 

Bicuspids/Premolars The teeth with two rounded points located between the eye teeth (cuspids) and the molars.

 

Bite The way in which the upper and lower teeth meet when closing the mouth.

 

Bitewing An x-ray of a patient’s mouth that helps detect tooth decay.

 

Bleaching A technique that whitens or lightens the color of stained or discolored teeth through a chemical or laser treatment. McDonald & Middleton Dental offers professionally applied and at home teeth whitening services. Teeth whitening is one of the most pain free and cost effective ways of improving the radiance of your smile. Do not wait any longer to get the smile you deserve. Contact McDonald & Middleton Dental to make your teeth whitening appointment today.

 

Bonding A technique to bind a filling or filling material to a tooth. Bonding materials may be used to repair chipped, cracked, misshapen or discolored teeth or to fill in a gap between teeth. The dentists at McDonald & Middleton Dental are experts at repairing chipped, cracked, misshapen or discolored teeth. Avoid the embarrassing distraction of chipped, cracked, misshapen or discolored teeth in your smile. Consult with our dentists and put together a treatment plan to correct this common problem.

 

Braces The devices used by orthodontists to gradually reposition teeth.

 

Bridge Nonremovable tooth replacements attached to adjoining natural teeth when one or a few teeth are missing. A dental bridge is a great solution for those missing some but not all of their natural teeth. The dentists at McDonald & Middleton Dental have years of experience building and fitting dental bridges. Consult with one of our friendly dentists and determine if a dental bridge is the appropriate dental appliance to complete your smile.

 

Bruxism The involuntary clenching or grinding of the teeth. The experienced dentists at McDonald & Middleton Dental know the signs of bruxism and how to protect your teeth from its negative effects. If left untreated, Bruxism can cause significant wear and tooth loss. Protect your teeth; make an appointment with McDonald & Middleton Dental today.

C

Calcium The natural element needed for healthy teeth, bones and nerves.

 

Calculus The hard residue that forms on teeth due to plaque buildup, often stained yellow or brown; also known as “tartar”. One of the simplest things you can do to enhance and protect your smile is having your teeth professional cleaned once every six months. Plaque buildup overtime can promote and accelerate gum disease and tooth decay. The hygienists at McDonald & Middleton Dental are plaques worst enemy. If it has been awhile since your last dental cleaning, make an appointment at McDonald & Middleton Dental for a professional cleaning today.

 

Canker Sore A mouth sore, whitish in color that often appears with a red halo.

 

Cantilever Bridge A fixed bridge that attaches to adjacent teeth on one end.

 

Caries Tooth decay; common cause of cavities.

 

Cavities A decay lesion or hole in a tooth. The key to fighting cavities is brushing, flossing, regular dental cleanings / exams and acting to treat the cavity with a dental filling sooner rather than later. Keep cavities at bay; preserve your dental health by making an appointment with McDonald & Middleton Dental today.

 

Centrals/Laterals The four front teeth.

 

Clasp A device that holds a removable partial denture to stationary teeth.

 

Cleaning The removal of plaque and tartar from teeth, generally above the gum line. The hygienists at McDonald & Middleton Dental are experts in cleaning teeth. Get your teeth cleaned at McDonald & Middleton Dental today.

 

Composite Filling A tooth-colored metal free filling. McDonald & Middleton Dental offers both composite (white / metal free) and amalgam (metal) filings. Each filling type has advantages and disadvantages, consult with your expert McDonald & Middleton Dental dentist to determine which type of filling is best for you.

 

Cosmetic Dentistry The treatments performed to enhance appearance of your smile such as whitening or veneers. McDonald & Middleton Dental performs a variety of procedures to enhance your smile. From whitening services to fixing broken, chipped or missing teeth, McDonald & Middleton Dental can help you smile with confidence. Schedule an appointment with McDonald & Middleton Dental today and take that critical first step in creating the smile you always deserved.

 

Cross Bite A reverse biting relationship of upper and lower teeth (e.g., underbite).

 

Crown/Jacket/Cap The artificial covering of a tooth with metal (usually gold), porcelain or porcelain fused to metal. Crowns cover teeth weakened by decay or teeth that are severely damaged or chipped. Crowns help restore protect and strengthen the tooth and restore its appearance. The Dentists at McDonald & Middleton Dental are experts in the details of dental crowns. A consultation with one of our dentists can help you determine if dental crowns should be a part of your personal treatment plan. Call McDonald & Middleton Dental, make your appointment today.

 

Curettage The removal of diseased tissue from a periodontal pocket.

 

Cusp The pointed or rounded part of a tooth’s biting surface.

 

Cuspids The large pointed teeth at the corners of the mouth, located between the incisors and bicuspids; also known as “canine” or “eye teeth”.

 

Cusps The raised round parts on the chewing surface of the teeth.

D

DDS The abbreviation for Doctor of Dental Surgery.

 

DMD The abbreviation for Doctor of Medical Dentistry.

 

Decay The destruction of tooth structure caused by toxins produced by bacteria that naturally occur in your mouth. Most tooth decay can be prevented with proper brushing and flossing along with regular check-ups and dental cleanings. The hygienists at McDonald & Middleton Dental are ready to help you and your family fight tooth decay. Protect your smile, make an appointment for a cleaning and check-up at McDonald & Middleton Dental today.

 

Deciduous Teeth The first set of (usually) twenty teeth; also known as “baby teeth”. While “baby teeth” are temporary, they deserve the same level of care as permanent teeth. Ideally, your baby should have his first dental exam around the time of his first birthday. Maintaining “baby teeth” is a critical first step in helping to ensure adult teeth form properly, will come in correctly and disease free. Additionally, you cannot start teaching your child good brushing and flossing habits soon enough. Start your child on the road to excellent oral health; bring your child to McDonald & Middleton Dental for a cleaning and exam today.

 

Dental Floss A waxed or unwaxed piece of nylon string that is inserted between the teeth and moved in an up/down fashion to remove plaque or other food deposits. Flossing helps remove plaque or tartar from between teeth and helps keep teeth clean below the gum line. Flossing helps to clean the areas of your mouth where brushing is less effective. Daily flossing is a very important part of maintaining your beautiful smile. The friendly hygienists at McDonald & Middleton Dental will be happy to show you proper flossing techniques and discuss the benefits of flossing during your next appointment.

 

Dental Implant A titanium cylinder surgically placed in the bone of the upper or lower jaw to provide support for a dental restoration or appliance. McDonald & Middleton Dental offers dental implants to its patients that want the most permanent and durable fix to their dental problems such as missing teeth, the anchoring of dental appliances or dental crowns. To determine if a dental implant is right for you, talk with your personable McDonald & Middleton Dental dentist during your next treatment planning session.

 

Dentin The inner layer of tooth structure, located immediately under the surface enamel.

 

Dentures Removable artificial teeth in a plastic base that rests directly on the gums. A denture may be complete or partial depending on the number of missing natural teeth. Dentures are appropriate for those patients that have lost all or some of their natural teeth. They allow patients to eat and speak correctly, support critical facial muscles preventing sagging and premature aging and give you a full, brilliant smile to flash with confidence. The dentists at McDonald & Middleton Dental are experts in fitting dentures. If you are missing some or all of your natural teeth and want to get back to eating and smiling again, make an appointment to see a McDonald & Middleton Dental dentist today to determine if dentures are right for you.

 

Diastema The space between teeth.

E

Enamel The hard tissue covering the portion of tooth above the gum line; the hardest substance in the

body.

 

Endodontics The branch of dentistry concerned with the treatment of the dental pulp, nerve or root of the tooth; the most common procedure is a root canal.

Endodontist A specialist who treats injuries, diseases and infections of the tooth pulp, nerves or root of the tooth.

 

Extraction The removal of teeth. Teeth that have suffered from severe decay, advanced gum disease, a traumatic injury or are crowded or impacted sometimes need to be removed. The skilled dentists at McDonald & Middleton Dental can help you decide if the removal of a tooth is the best course of treatment.

F

Facing A plastic or porcelain surface placed on the front of a tooth or crown for a natural appearance.

Filling The restoration of lost tooth structure with metal, porcelain or resin materials. There are two common types of dental fillings: amalgam (metal) and composite (white / metal free). McDonald & Middleton Dental’s dentists are experienced in both amalgam and composite fillings and can help you determine which filling is best for you. If you find yourself needing a filling or have recently lost a filling and need it replaced, contact McDonald & Middleton Dental for an appointment and consult with one of our friendly dentists today.

 

Flap Surgery The lifting of gum tissue to expose and clean underlying tooth and bone structures.

 

Fluoride A naturally occurring element that strengthens enamel, helping teeth resist decay. Fluoride is an important tool in fighting tooth decay. McDonald & Middleton Dental offers fluoride treatments to its patients to help ensure their teeth stay fit and strong. Come in for a cleaning and fluoride treatment today. The hygienists at McDonald & Middleton Dental want your smile to be brilliant and last a lifetime.

G

Gingivectomy The surgical removal of gum tissue.

 

Gingivitis The inflammation of gum tissue; early stage of gum disease caused by a buildup of plaque, tartar or food particles. If caught early, the ill effects of gingivitis are reversible. If it progresses, gum disease can lead to severe infection, tooth and bone loss. A routine of regular brushing and flossing as well as regular professional cleanings and check-ups are the best way to fight gum disease. Make an appointment today with McDonald & Middleton Dental to determine if you have gum disease and how to best halt and reverse its progress.

 

Gum Recession The exposure of dental roots due to shrinkage of the gums from abrasion, periodontal disease or surgery.

H

Halimeter An instrument used in the diagnosis and treatment of chronic halitosis (bad breath).

 

Halitosis The condition of bad breath. Chronic bad breadth is sometimes a symptom of a more severe dental health issue. If you suffer from halitosis, come in and see the professionals at McDonald & Middleton Dental. Let us make sure you are not suffering from a more severe dental problem, give your teeth a professional cleaning and help you fight halitosis.

 

Heat Sterilization A procedure that kills all microorganisms on instruments when placed into a chamber and the temperature is raised. McDonald & Middleton Dental’s sterilization lab and sterilization techs uses state of the art autoclaves that use both heat and pressure to ensure all our instruments are properly sterilized.

Hygienist A type of dental professional qualified to clean and scale teeth; they also educate patients on proper dental care. McDonald & Middleton Dental is proud of their experienced, knowledgeable and helpful dental hygienists. The hygienist is your first line of defense against tooth decay, gum disease and a host of other more complicated dental problems. Regular cleanings and exams and a great dental hygienist are a smiles best friend. Come experience the difference of a McDonald & Middleton Dental hygienist today. Make your appointment to be seen now.

I

Impacted Tooth A tooth beneath the gum tissue that lies against another tooth, under bone or soft tissue, which is unlikely to grow out on its own. Sometimes an impacted tooth needs to be removed or extracted. The dentists at McDonald & Middleton Dental have the clinical experience and tools to asses impacted teeth and remove them if necessary. If you are suffering from an impacted tooth, take action, call McDonald & Middleton Dental today for a comprehensive exam and a consultation with one of our expert dentists.

 

Implant A fixed replacement for a missing tooth or a support for a bridge or denture that has been surgically placed into bone. McDonald & Middleton Dental offers dental implants to its patients that want the most permanent and durable fix to their dental problems such as missing teeth, the anchoring of dental appliances or dental crowns. To determine if a dental implant is right for you, talk with your personable McDonald & Middleton Dental dentist during your next treatment planning session.

 

Impression A mold made of the teeth and soft tissues. Dental impressions are used by the dentists at McDonald & Middleton Dental to model the mouth in an effort to appropriately form and fit dental implants, crowns, dentures and other dental appliances.

 

Incisors The four upper or lower single-cusped (pointed) front teeth designed for cutting food.

 

Inlay A solid filling usually made out of gold-alloy cast to fit the missing portion of the tooth and cemented into place covering one or more tooth cusps. The experienced dentists at McDonald & Middleton Dental can help you determine if an inlay is right for you. Speak with one of our expert dentists on your next appointment or schedule an appointment today.

 

Intraoral Camera A small video camera used to view and magnify oral conditions; images may be viewed on a monitor or printed.

J

Jacket A crown for a front tooth usually made of porcelain. A jacket is a form of dental crown and is used to cover chipped, damaged or teeth weakened by decay. The dentists at McDonald & Middleton Dental are experts in the use of dental crowns. A consultation with one of our dentists can help you determine if a dental crown is a possible solution for your dental needs. Call McDonald & Middleton Dental today, schedule a cleaning and comprehensive oral exam. Talk to one of our expert dentists to determine if a jacket is right for you.

L

Laminate Veneer A thin plastic or porcelain shell applied to the front of a tooth to restore, strengthen or improve its appearance. Dental veneers are used to correct spaces or gaps in between teeth, misshapen teeth, crooked teeth, chipped teeth, cracked teeth, discolored / stained teeth. Laminate veneers have many cosmetic and restorative uses and can be used to give you the brilliant and durable smile you always wanted. Come to McDonald & Middleton Dental today and talk to our dentists about laminate veneers.

 

Lasers A light emitting instrument used in dental surgery, to cure (harden) restorative tooth materials and enhance tooth whitening, as well as to remove tooth structure to eliminate disease.

 

Laughing Gas Nitrous oxide gas used to produce a mild form of relative sedation in patients. Nitrous oxide is used to reduce anxiety and induce a state of relaxation in nervous patients or patients that are undergoing lengthy procedures. For the comfort of our patients, McDonald & Middleton Dental offers nitrous oxide or laughing gas.

 

Local Anesthesia An agent that relieves the sensation of pain in a localized area, example, novacaine. The comfort of patients under treatment at McDonald & Middleton Dental is one of our primary concerns. Our dentists are trained to thoroughly numb a treatment area prior to initiating work.

M

Malocclusion Incorrect position of biting or chewing surfaces of the upper and lower teeth.

 

Mandible The lower jaw.

 

Margin The point of contact between a restoration and the tooth structure.

Maxilla The upper jaw.

 

Medicated Filling A provisional or temporary filling that incorporates a pallative or soothing medication to calm an inflamed tooth nerve.

 

Molars The back teeth that are designed for grinding food before swallowing.

 

Mouthguard A removable appliance used to protect teeth from injury during athletic activities. If you or a family member participates in contact sports, McDonald & Middleton dental suggest that you obtain and wear a mouthguard to help prevent/minimize traumatic injury to teeth and gums.

N

Nerve The dental pulp; the internal chamber of a tooth.

 

Night Guard A removable acrylic appliance usually worn at night used to minimize the effects of grinding the teeth (bruxism) or jaw / joint problems. McDonald & Middleton Dental can fabricate and fit a “Night Guard” appliance for those suffering from teeth grinding, clenching or jaw / joint problems. Talk to the McDonald & Middleton Dental staff about this effective dental appliance today.

 

Nitrous Oxide A gas used to reduce patient anxiety; also known as “laughing gas”. Nitrous oxide gas used to produce a mild form of relative sedation in patients. Nitrous oxide or “laughing gas” is used to reduce anxiety and induce a state of relaxation in nervous patients or patients that will undergo lengthy procedures. For the comfort of our patients, McDonald & Middleton Dental offers laughing gas or nitrous oxide.

 

Nursing Bottle Syndrome Severe decay in baby teeth due to sleeping with a bottle of milk or juice. Natural sugars from the drink combine with bacteria in the mouth to produce acid that decays teeth. During a regular check up and dental exam McDonald & Middleton Dental will be able to diagnose Nursing Bottle Syndrome and create a treatment plan to manage its ill effects. Diagnosing and treating these childhood dental issues early is critical and will put your child on a path to a healthy smile. McDonald & Middleton stand ready to help, bring your child in today for a dental cleaning and oral exam.

O

Occlusion Closure; relationship of the upper and lower teeth upon closure.

 

Onlay A gold or porcelain inlay extended to cover the cusps for protection of the tooth. The dentists at McDonald & Middleton Dental can help you determine if nonlay is an appropriate procedure for your damaged tooth. Speak with one of our expert dentists on your next appointment or schedule an appointment today.

 

Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeon A specialist who deals with the diagnosis and surgical treatment of diseases, injuries and deformities of the mouth and supporting structures.

 

Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery Surgical procedures on the mouth including extractions, removal of cysts or tumors, and repair of fractured jaws.

 

Oral Cavity The mouth.

 

Oral Hygiene The process of maintaining cleanliness of the teeth and related structures.

 

Oral Pathologist A dentist specializing in the study of oral diseases.

 

Oral Surgery Surgery of the mouth.

 

Orthodontics A dental specialty that treats misalignment of teeth; an extended treatment that usually consists of braces or a retainer.

 

Overbite A vertical overlap of the front teeth.

 

Overdenture A denture or prosthetic device that fits over residual roots or dental implants providing better stability for the denture. McDonald & Middleton Dental produces and fits overdentures for those patients where fitting the denture over residual roots or dental implants is beneficial. Discuss overdentures with your McDonald & Middleton Dental dentist today to determine if an overdenture can benefit you.

P

Panorex A single full mouth x-ray; also known as a panoramic x-ray. McDonald & Middleton Dental employs new, state of the art, Sirona panoramic x-ray machines to take clear x-ray images of your teeth.

 

Partial Dentures A removable appliance (prosthesis) that replaces sections of missing teeth in either the upper or lower jaw. McDonald & Middleton Dental produces and fits partial dentures for patients that are missing several teeth in a row. Consult with your dentist at McDonald & Middleton Dental to determine if partial dentures are right for you.

Pediatric Dentistry A dental specialty focusing on treatment of children’s teeth.

 

Pedodontics The dental specialty devoted to the treatment of children.

 

Pedodontist A dentist specializing in the treatment of children.

 

Periapical The area surrounding the end of a tooth root.

 

Periodontal Chart The record measuring the depth of gum pockets around the teeth.

 

Periodontal Disease The general term for the inflammation or disease affecting the gums.

 

Periodontal Surgery The recontouring or esthetic management of diseased gum and supporting tissue.

 

Periodontics Treatment of gums, tissue and bone that supports the teeth. The foundation of a health smile exists on healthy bones and gums. McDonald & Middleton Dental has experienced periodontists on staff to help patients that are suffering from gum disease and related gum and bone issues. Make an appointment with some of the most experienced periodontists in the Fayetteville North Carolina; make an appointment to be seen by McDonald & Middleton Dental.

 

Periodontist A dentist who specializes in the treatment of gum disease.

 

Periodontitis/Gum Disease Chronic inflammation and destruction of supporting bone and tissue membrane around the roots of teeth. Periodontitis is an advanced form of gum disease that requires treatment to prevent eventual tooth and bone loss. If you suffer from periodontitis, McDonald & Middleton Dental has you covered with some of the most experienced periodontists in the Fayetteville area. Call McDonald & Middleton Dental, schedule a convenient appointment to see a periodontists today.

 

Permanent Teeth The thirty-two adult teeth in a complete dentition.

 

Pit A small defect, indentation or fissure in tooth enamel caused by natural wear and not tooth decay. While not a cavity (pits are not caused by tooth decay) pits bear watching as they are a common area where cavities are likely to form. Keeping an eye on the natural places in your mouth where cavities can form is one of the primary roles of preventative dental care. Schedule an appointment for a cleaning and exam with McDonald & Middleton Dental and let our professional dentists and hygienists monitor oral health for a bright and long lasting smile.

 

Plaque A sticky substance that forms on the surface of the teeth and harbors bacteria growth and acid formation beneath its surface, causing tooth decay. Plaque buildup can irritate the gums and cause periodontal disease. Plaque or tartar is the scourge of healthy teeth and a durable, beautiful smile. A daily regime of brushing and flossing is the best way to keep plaque buildup at bay. Also of critical importance is the semi-annual visit to McDonald & Middleton Dental for a professional cleaning, fluoride treatment and comprehensive exam. Call McDonald & Middleton Dental today to schedule your cleaning and exam today

 

Palate The general term that refers to the roof of the mouth.

 

Porcelain Crown An all-porcelain restoration covering the portion of tooth above the gum line. Crowns cover teeth weakened by decay or severely damaged or chipped. Crowns help protect and strengthen the tooth and restore its appearance. The Dentists at McDonald & Middleton Dental are experts in the details of dental crowns. A consultation with one of our dentists can help you determine if a dental crown should be part of your personal treatment plan. Call McDonald & Middleton Dental, make your appointment to consult with one of our expert dentists regarding a dental crown today.

 

Porcelain Fused to Metal (PFM) Crown A restoration with metal coping (for strength) covered by porcelain (for appearance).

 

Porcelain Inlay or Onlay A tooth-colored restoration made of porcelain, cemented or bonded in place and extended to protect the cusps of the tooth. The Dentists at McDonald & Middleton Dental can help you determine if an onlay is an appropriate procedure for your damaged tooth. Speak with one of our expert dentists during your next appointment or schedule your appointment.

Porcelain Veneers A thin layer of porcelain bonded to a natural tooth to replace lost tooth structure, close spaces, straighten teeth or change color and/or shape. Porcelain veneers have many cosmetic and restorative uses and can be used to give you the brilliant and durable smile you always wanted. Come to McDonald & Middleton Dental today and talk to our dentists about porcelain veneers.

 

Preventive Services The dental procedures concerned with the prevention of dental diseases by protective and educational measures; may include exam, cleanings, x-rays and fluoride. Preventive services are the cornerstone of a healthy and beautiful smile and with McDonald & Middleton Dental’s convenient extended and weekend hours, scheduling an appointment for preventive services could not be easier. Call McDonald & Middleton Dental and schedule your appointment for a professional cleaning and comprehensive dental exam today.

 

Prophy Jet Air polishing teeth for stain removal.

 

Prophylaxis A professional cleaning to remove plaque, calculus (mineralized plaque) and stains to help prevent dental disease. Schedule your dental cleaning or prophylaxis with the friendly hygienists at McDonald & Middleton Dental today. Regular, thorough and professionally rendered dental cleanings are a basic tenant of maintaining a beautiful and brilliant smile.

 

Prosthodontics The restoration of natural teeth and replacement of missing or lost teeth; common procedures are crowns, bridges, dentures and dental implants. McDonald & Middleton Dental offers a full suite of restorative dental services to return your smile to a healthy and brilliant state. Our dentists are trained in these restorative procedures and are ready to provide you with that smile you always deserved. Call McDonald & Middleton Dental, schedule an appointment, consult with one of our friendly dentists and design a treatment plan to restore your smile.

 

Prosthodontist A dentist that specializes in the restoration of natural teeth and replacement of teeth; expertise includes, but is not limited to: crowns, bridges, dentures, dental implants, TMD-jaw joint problems and oral cancer reconstruction.

 

Provider The dentist or specialist.

 

Pulp The blood vessels and nerve tissue inside a tooth.

 

Pulp Chamber The opening in the center of the crown of a tooth which contains the pulp (nerve tissue) and stretches to the tip of the root.

 

Pulpectomy The complete removal of the pulp (commonly done in children’s teeth).

R

Radiography An image produced on photographic film by radiation, such as x-rays passed through an object; also known as “x-rays”.

 

Reimplantation An insertion and temporary fixation of partially or completely dislodged tooth or teeth, resulting from traumatic injury. McDonald & Middleton Dental performs reimplantation in conjunction with emergency care it regularly provides the residents of Fayetteville, North Carolina. McDonald & Middleton Dental offer extended hours emergency care on a walk-in basis 7 days a week and 365 days a year.

 

Reline An acrylic restoration of a denture base. Overtime, the gums and jaw adjust to the loss of natural dentition. As the area effected by tooth loss heals, the shape of the gum line changes, necessitating a modification to the lining of the dentures to get them back to a comfortable and conforming fit. McDonald & Middleton Dental relines dentures and can fix most ill fitting and broken dental appliances. Do not suffer with an uncomfortable denture, partial denture or other dental prosthetic. Visit McDonald & Middleton Dental for a cleaning, comprehensive exam and review of the fit and function of your denture, bridge or other dental appliance.

 

Resin/Composite Filling Tooth-colored metal free filling. McDonald & Middleton Dental offers both composite (white / metal free) and amalgam (metal) filings. Each filling type has advantages and disadvantages, consult with your expert McDonald & Middleton Dental dentist to determine which type of filling is best for you.

 

Restoration Replacement of missing or damaged tooth structure with artificial materials.

 

Retained Root A partial root structure remaining in jaw after extraction or fracture of a natural tooth.

Retainer An appliance for maintaining the positions of the teeth and jaws immediately after the completion of orthodontic treatment.

 

Root The tooth structure that connects the tooth to the jaw.

 

Root Canal A procedure used to save an abscessed tooth in which the pulp chamber is cleaned out, disinfected, and filled with a permanent filling. A root canal is one of the more common restorative procedures performed at McDonald & Middleton Dental. It can bring welcome and lasting relief from the pain of a severely infected tooth. If you suspect you have an abscessed or infected tooth, make an appointment with McDonald & Middleton Dental immediately. McDonald & Middleton Dental has extended hours and is open 365 days a year to meet all your emergency and restorative dental needs.

 

Root Canal Treatment The removal of the pulp tissue of a tooth due to decay or injury.

 

Root Planing The deep cleaning of the teeth to remove hardened plaque below the gum line. Performed by a McDonald & Middleton Dental hygienist, root planing is an important preventative tool in maintaining healthy gums and a healthy smile. A cleaning, comprehensive exam, and consultation with your hygienist and dentist will determine if root planing is necessary.

 

Root Resection The removal of a portion of diseased root structure, retaining the remaining natural tooth.

S

Scaling A treatment for gum disease involving removal of hardened plaque (tartar or calculus) from teeth. Scaling is one of the primary preventative procedures performed by the McDonald & Middleton Dental hygienists during a dental cleaning. Scaling is yet another reason why regular cleanings go a long way toward preserving your smile.

 

Sealant A plastic coating applied to biting surface or grooves of the teeth to prevent decay. Sealants are sometimes applied to patients at risk for poor dental health. Only a visit with your McDonald & Middleton dentist or hygienist can determine if the application of sealants are right for you.

 

Space Maintainer The dental device that holds the space lost through premature loss of baby teeth.

Splint The connection of two or more teeth so they function as a stronger single structure.

 

Subscriber An insured, member or enrollee.

Supernumerary Tooth An extra tooth.

T

Tartar The hard residue that builds up on teeth above and below the gum line due to the calcification of plaque. One of the simplest things you can do to combat tartar and enhance / protect your smile is to have your teeth professionally cleaned once every six months. Tartar buildup overtime can promote and accelerate tooth decay. The dedicated hygienists at McDonald & Middleton Dental are tartar terminators. If it has been awhile since your last dental cleaning, it is time to take action and make an appointment at McDonald & Middleton Dental for a professional cleaning today.

 

Temporomandibular Disorders (TMD) The problems associated with the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) which connects the lower jaw with the skull; typically associated with pops and pain in the joint.

 

Tooth Whitening A chemical or laser process to lighten the color of teeth. McDonald & Middleton Dental offers professionally applied and at home teeth whitening services. Teeth whitening is one of the most pain free and cost effective ways of improving the radiance of your smile. Do not wait any longer to get the smile you deserve. Contact McDonald & Middleton Dental to make your whitening appointment today.

U

Ultrasonic Cleaning A tooth cleaning technique that uses high frequency sound waves to gently remove deposits, tartar and stains, from the teeth. Ultrasonic cleaning is part of the preventive dental services offered by McDonald & Middleton Dental and is an effective method for keeping your teeth tartar and stain free. Schedule your appointment with a McDonald & Middleton Dental Hygienist today to maintain the healthy and strong smile you have worked so diligently to obtain.

 

Unerupted Tooth A tooth that has not pushed through the gum.

V

Veneers The plastic or porcelain facing which is bonded directly to a tooth to restore, strengthen or improve its appearance. Veneers have a variety of cosmetic and restorative uses and when placed by the expert dentists at McDonald & Middleton Dental, they can give you the dazzling and strong smile you have always wanted. Make an appointment to talk veneers with a McDonald & Middleton Dental dentist today.

W

Whitening A chemical or laser based process that lightens the color of teeth. McDonald & Middleton Dental offers professionally applied and at home teeth whitening services. Teeth whitening is one of the most pain free and cost effective ways of improving the radiance of your smile. Do not wait any longer to get the smile you deserve. Contact McDonald & Middleton Dental to make your whitening appointment today.

 

Wisdom Teeth The third set of molars, the last teeth to come in, usually erupt at age 18-25. In some patients, wisdom teeth can crowd or damage surrounding teeth and need to be removed. McDonald & Middleton Dental offers wisdom tooth extraction services for those patients that need their wisdom teeth removed.

X

Xerostomia Dry mouth or decrease in the production of saliva. Xerostomia can cause halitosis (chronic bad breath), an increase in the number of cavities and an increase in the number of gum infections. Less saliva means less protection for your teeth, as saliva plays a critical part in remineralizing tooth enamel. If you have dry mouth, talk to your McDonald & Middleton Dental dentist on your next visit to discuss your treatment options.

 

Dental Insurance Terms Glossary

 

A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | QS | U | V | W | X | Y | Z

 

A

Annual Maximum The total dollar amount that an insurance plan will pay for dental care incurred by an individual enrollee or family (under a family plan) in a specified benefit period, typically a calendar year.

B

Balance Billing Dentist fees that the insured enrollee is billed for amounts above the enrollee’s portion of the coinsurance.

C

Claim/Claim Form A statement sent to an insurance carrier that lists the treatment performed, the date of that treatment and an itemization of associated costs; serves as the basis for payment of benefits.

 

Co-payment The part of the fee you owe the dentist before or after your insurance carrier has paid its portion. McDonald & Middleton Dental will help you estimate your co-payment at the time of service.

 

Coinsurance The enrollee’s share, expressed as a fixed percentage, of the insurance contract allowance. For example, a benefit that is paid at 80 percent by an insurance plan creates a 20 percent coinsurance obligation for the enrollee. Coinsurance applies after the enrollee meets a required deductible. McDonald & Middleton Dental will help you estimate your coinsurance payment prior to service.

 

Coordination of Benefits (COB) A process that insurance carriers use to determine the order of payment and amount each insurance carrier will pay when a person receives dental services that are covered by more than one insurance benefit plan.

Covered Services Services for which payment is provided under the terms of a dental insurance benefit contract.

D

Deductible A dollar amount that each enrollee (or cumulatively a family for family coverage) must pay for certain covered services before your insurance company begins paying benefits. The friendly staff at McDonald & Middleton Dental will help determine your deductible and co-pay amounts prior to treatment.

 

Diagnostic & Preventive Services A category of dental services in a fee-for-service dental insurance benefits contract that usually includes oral evaluations, routine cleanings, x-rays and fluoride treatments.

 

Dual Coverage When dental treatment for an enrollee is covered by more than one dental insurance benefits plan. When a patient has dual coverage, the friendly staff at McDonald & Middleton Dental can help sort through the responsibilities of each dental insurance benefit plan, helping the patient get the most out of their hard earned dental benefits.

E

Effective Date The date a dental benefits contract begins. Effective date may also be used to describe the date that benefits begin for a plan enrollee.

 

Eligible Enrollee An enrollee who has met the eligibility requirements under a dental benefit plan.

 

Eligibility The circumstances or conditions that define who and when a person may qualify to enroll in a plan and/or a specific category of covered services. These circumstances or conditions may include length of employment, job status, length of time an enrollee has been covered under the plan, dependency, child and student age limits, etc.

Enrollee A person who receives insurance benefits under a dental benefit contract (also known as “member”, “insured”, “covered person”, “beneficiary”).

 

Explanation of Benefits (EOB) An insurance statement notifying members/enrollees each time a dental claim is processed.

I

In-Network/Out-of-Network Services provided by a dentist that participates in a dental insurance, pre-paid or discount dental benefit plan (in-network) or does not participate in a dental insurance, pre-paid or discount dental benefit plan (out-of-network). McDonald & Middleton Dental does not have to be In-Network for you to see us. We accept most dental insurance as well as pre-paid and discount dental benefit plans and are happy to file claims on your behalf with your dental benefit provider.

L

Lifetime Maximum The cumulative dollar amount that an insurance plan will pay for dental care incurred by an individual enrollee or family (under a family plan) for the life of the enrollee or the plan. Lifetime maximums usually apply to specific services such as orthodontic treatment.

 

Limitations & Exclusions Dental insurance plans typically do not cover every dental procedure. Each insurance plan contains a list of conditions or circumstances that limit or exclude services from coverage. Limitations may be related to time or frequency (the number of procedures permitted during a stated period) — for example, no more than two cleanings in twelve months or one cleaning every six months. Exclusions are those dental services not covered by the insurance plan.

Limiting Age of Coverage The age at which a dependent covered by a dental insurance plan is no longer eligible to receive benefits; most dental insurance plans offer an extension of benefits beyond the limiting age of coverage to student and handicapped dependents.

M

Member A person who receives insurance benefits under a dental benefit contract (also known as “enrollee”, “insured”, “covered person”, “beneficiary”).

O

Out-of-Pocket Costs Any amount the enrollee is responsible for paying, such as coinsurance or copayments, deductibles, and costs above the annual maximum. The friendly staff at McDonald & Middleton Dental will help determine you’re out-of-pocket costs prior to treatment.

P

Preauthorization An insurance requirement that recommended treatment must first be approved by the plan before the treatment is rendered in order for the plan to pay benefits for those services. As McDonald & Middleton Dental takes most dental insurance, prepaid and discount dental benefit plans, we can help you determine which procedures or treatments require preauthorization and secure the necessary approvals on your behalf.

 

Preventive Services The dental procedures concerned with the prevention of dental diseases by protective and educational measures; may include exam, cleanings, x-rays and fluoride. Preventive services are the cornerstone of a healthy and beautiful smile and with McDonald & Middleton Dental’s convenient extended and weekend hours, scheduling an appointment for preventive services could not be easier. Call McDonald & Middleton Dental and schedule your appointment for a professional cleaning and comprehensive dental exam today.

 

Provider The dentist or specialist.

S

Subscriber An insured, member or enrollee.

T

Third-Party Provider An insurance company that pays all or a part of the cost of dental treatment.

U

Usual Fee The amount commonly charged for a particular service by an insurance provider.

W

Waiting Period A stated period of time that a person must be enrolled in an insurance benefit plan before being eligible for benefits or for a specific category of benefit

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Dentist Fayetteville, NC