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Parker M Jarvis DDS
General Dentist
555 West Schrock Road Suite 120 = Westerville = OH 43081 = (614) 882-5208

Glossary of Dental Terms  

Abscess An infection of the jaw bone due to either dead pulp in the tooth or a periodontal pocket around the tooth.

Abutment An anchor or support tooth on either side of the space where a tooth is missing.

Acid Etch Used when preparing a tooth for a tooth colored filling, a mild acid solution is placed on the tooth surface to make the surface rough (etched), the solution is then removed, the tooth is dried. The etching allows the tooth-colored filling materials to adhere to the tooth surface.

Alloy The combinations of precious and semiprecious materials (e.g. silver, mercury, gold, copper, tin, zinc, chromium, and nickel) that are used in tooth restorations (e.g. inlays, onlays and crowns).

Alveolar Bone Teeth in the jaw are supported by the alveolar bone.

Amalgam A common type of dental restoration, "silver filling." The material contains alloys of mercury, silver, tin, copper and sometimes zinc.

American Dental Association (ADA) With headquarters in Chicago, Illinois, the ADA is the national organization for organized dentistry. ADA is responsible for state and local dental societies about policies of national and state interest.

American Dental Association Seal of Acceptance The only labeling which assures the American consumer of a dental product's effectiveness and safety, and provides assurance that the manufacturer's claims are accurate.

Analgesic Aspirin and Tylenol are common types of analgesics that help to create an absence of the sensation of pain.

Anesthesia The numbing effect, or loss of all sensation in an area, due to action by a drug. Carbocaine and Xylocaine are common local anesthetics.

Anterior Means front. (opposite: posterior = back)

Antibiotic Antibiotic medications are given to help the body's natural defenses in fighting an infection. Penicillin and erythromycin are examples.

Apex The very end, or tip of the root of a tooth.

Appliance A term used in dentistry which translates to be any dental device that serves with purposeful intent. Dentures, orthodontia, palate expanders, arch appliances, etc.

Arch The bony elevation from which the teeth erupt in the lower and upper jaw; a dental ridge.

Baby Bottle Syndrome Severe decay in the teeth of young children caused by frequent, repeated exposure to liquids containing sugars (foe example: milk, baby formula, juices, etc.)

Baby Teeth See primary dentition.

Benign Tumor A non-invasive, non-malignant growth that may go away by itself or that may have to be removed.

Benzocaine A topical anesthetic used to numb site prior to dental injections.

Bitewing A small x ray film that shows the dentist the crowns of the teeth taken to check for decay between teeth.

Bleaching Also called teeth whitening. Techniques which create whiter teeth at home or in the dental office.

Board-certified specialist A dental specialist who has earned the diploma for his/her dental specialty from the American board.

Board-eligible specialist A dental specialist who has graduated from an advanced ADA-approved training program, but who is not a diploma holder of his specialty board.

Bonding A special technique that involves the removal of a small amount of the tooth's exterior structure (enamel) and placing (bonding) a very thin covering over the area that was removed to repair, protect, and/or return a tooth to its natural color, or to a more desired shape.

Bony impaction The tooth is not in the proper position and cannot erupt.

Bridge A common fixed-appliance that serves to replace a missing tooth or teeth. It is cemented into position. A crown or crowns anchor the bridge, while the replacement tooth is called the pontic.

Bruxism Teeth grinding to release tension. If severe and causes tooth wear or jaw related problems, suffers should consult a dentist or a dental specialist to aid in correcting the bruxism problem.

Buccal The surface of the tooth which is in contact with the cheek. The opposite side is the lingual side or tongue side.

Calculus The rough, hard, stony deposit that accumulates on the teeth when plaque is not removed and the teeth are not properly cleaned

Canker Sores Canker sores or recurrent aphthous ulcers are painful sores that can occur singly or in clusters in the mouth for a duration of a about 10 to 14 days.

Cantilever Bridge A fixed bridge in which the replacement tooth (pontic) is the end member.

Capitation A method of insurance reimbursement in dental benefit plans which requires that the dentist provides all necessary covered services to eligible plan members for a fixed capita monthly payment, usually paid regardless of the services rendered. The financial risk is assumed by the dentist in these plans.

Carcinoma A most serious type of oral cancer.

Caries Cavities in the teeth. The beginning stage of tooth decay is when acid creates a hole in the tooth.

Carrier Another name for dental insurance company offering dental insurance coverage to eligible members within the plan.

Cementum A covering that surrounds the root end of the tooth to protect it

Clasp The arm of a partial denture. Usually attaches to the abutment tooth to gain stability and retention of a removable prosthetic device. Cleft Lip A birth defect that causes the lip to split. Also called a harelip.

Cleft Palate A birth defect in which there is a direct opening between the floor of the nose and the roof of the mouth.

Closed Panel A dental insurance benefit plan which requires the patients to receive their dental care from a specific dentist who has contractually agreed to the terms payments and benefits of the plan. Usually only a limited number of dentists in an area are allowed to participate in these types of plans.

COBRA Plan Insurance coverage that is offered to an insured person when employment terminates. Benefits are usually more limited and more expensive and are for a limited duration.

Cold Sores See herpes simplex

Composite Resin Commonly used tooth colored filling material composed of glass, fillers and resin used to restore teeth.

Congenital Present from or existing from birth

Contact The point where two adjacent or opposing teeth meet or touch.

Contract Dentist Organization Dentists contracting to provide services as discounted rates in exchange for access to a given patient population. Also known as a PPO (preferred provider organization).

Conventional Braces Orthodontic appliances that have metal brackets that show on the outer surfaces of the teeth.

Cusp The small dull points that are on the top of the crown of the tooth

Cyst A sack-like structure in the skin filled with diseased fluid

Decalcification Removal of the hardness, breaking down of a substance

Dental Fluorosis This condition happens when teeth are permanently stained within the tooth structure due to excessive ingestion of fluoride.

Dental Hygienist Licensed dental auxiliary who clean teeth, take x ray films, promote and teach oral hygiene care to dental patients in a dentist's office setting

Dentin Bone-like substance found beneath the hard enamel of the tooth. It is softer than enamel

Dentition A set of teeth, upper teeth and lower teeth

Direct Reimbursement Plans A type of benefit plan whereby the employer pays dental fees incurred by the employees. Levels of benefit coverage are based on the amount of dental expenditure that a plan allows in a year instead of categories of treatment. No insurance company is involved in the plan.

Disclosing Tablets Chewable tablets or solution used to aid the detection of plaque on the tooth surface

Distal The surface of the tooth that is the farthest from the middle or mid-line. Opposite the mesial.

Dry Socket When an extraction site fails to heal properly. Usually is very uncomfortable for the patient.

Enamel The hard covering of the tooth crown, the part above the gum line. It is the hardest tissue/substance found in the body

Endodontic Implants Utilizing an existing tooth by placing a metal post down into one of the root canals of the tooth and extending into the bone.

Endodontics A dental specialty concerned with the diagnosis, treatment, causes and prevention of diseases of the dental pulp and the tissues at the root tip. The specialist is called an endodontist.

Endodontic Therapy See root canal therapy.

Epinephrine Used with many anesthetic solutions, epinephrine is a vasoconstrictor that restricts bleeding during surgery and maintains the anesthetic at the site. It should be used with caution when treating patients with heart disease.

Erosion Teeth can erode or wear away due to a chemical process

Exclusions Care/procedures/services not covered under dental insurance plans.

Exfoliation Loosing the baby teeth, so the secondary teeth have a place to go

Explanation of Benefits Or EOB. A form generated by the insurance carrier explaining the justification for payment of the claim and/or denial of coverage. The EOB is sent to the subscriber and the providing dentist.

Extraction The removal of a tooth by a dentist.

Extraoral On the outside of the mouth

Extrinsic Staining Staining and discoloration on the enamel surface of the tooth

Facial The surface of the tooth that lies inside against the cheek. Is usually used for front surfaces of the front (anterior) teeth.

Fee for Service Reimbursement In dental insurance plan whereby the benefits are paid to the patient or he dentist according to the services provided. Fees paid out usually have UCR (usual and customary rate) limitations, table of allowances, scheduled fees for specific services, or are paid on the basis of the dentist's usual, full fee.

Fever Blisters See herpes simplex

Fetus An unborn baby

File A very fine, tapered instrument used by a dentist to clean out the pupal tissue remaining in the canal during a root canal.

Filling The replacement material used to fill or restore a tooth which has decayed.

Fixed Appliance An appliance that is cemented in place by the dentist and cannot be removed by the patient.

Fluoride An element that is naturally occurring that serves to strengthen enamel resulting in teeth that are much more resistant to decay

Fluorosis Discoloration of the teeth due to excessive fluoride in drinking water. Teeth look as if they have lacy white lines (mottling). Most often occurs when the drinking water has natural fluoridation.

Full Denture Upper or lower denture that replaces all teeth in a dental arch supported by the dental ridge.

Gingiva Gum tissue. The technical term for gums.

Gingivitis Inflammation of the gum tissue. This is the beginning of periodontal disease.

HMO Health Maintenance Organization. The type of insurance entity that contracts with subscribers and dependents to provide dental services and care for a specifically defined period of time at a fixed per capita rate, regardless of the services provided

Herpes Simplex Mouth sores that are viral lesions. Most often occurring on the outside of the mouth and lips, but can sometimes be found on the hard palate (roof of the mouth) and on the gum tissue. Highly contagious, they are characterized by a feeling of fullness, itching or burning before the blister-like sore develops.

Immediate Denture A denture which is placed immediately after the teeth are extracted.

Impacted Tooth A tooth with an irregular placement that is firmly lodged in the jaw bone and unable to erupt. Many impacted teeth never erupt.

Implant The extension of a tooth root or the replacement of a tooth by the surgical placement of a metal post into the upper or lower dental ridge. The post served to support the tooth crown.

Impression When the dentist wants a replica or model of your mouth or tooth , an impression is taken. Impressions are taken to create the model. This method is used to give the dental laboratory an exact model of the areas prepared for replacement teeth, a crown, onlay or denture so that the item being made will fit exactly to the patient's existing tissue or tooth structure.

Indemnity plan Also known as fee for service plan. In this type of plan the insurance company agrees to provide dental care for a specific group/population for an agreed upon period of time for an actuarially established per capita premium. The financial risk is assumed by the insurance carrier.

Infective Endocarditis (IE) A serious heart condition which can occur when microorganisms enter the bloodstream and make their way to the heart.

Inlay A restoration for a decayed tooth that usually contains gold and alloys. Restores the tooth without covering up the cusps of the tooth.

Intraoral Inside of the mouth

Intrinsic Staining Discoloration within the tooth which is permanent

Juvenile Periodontitis Infection creating bone loss surrounding the teeth in children

Laminated Veneers A technique for cosmetic improvement of usually the front teeth. , this conservative method involves the placement of a thin covering over discolored or broken teeth to improve their appearance.

Lead Apron The lead lined drape that is placed over the patient to protect them from exposure of radiation before x rays are taken.

Lesion The technical name for any sore, either benign or malignant.

Leukoplakia A lesion of the soft tissues that is characterized by a localized white patch of plaque. Is usually caused by irritation from a denture, broken tooth, or tobacco use.

Lingual The surface of the tooth that is in contact with the tongue (tongue side of the tooth), opposite of the buccal (cheek side) of the tooth.

Malnutrition A condition which develops when the body I deprived of a sufficient supply nutrients or the proper use of foods minerals and vitamins

Malocclusion When teeth are positioned incorrectly

Managed Care Plan Dental insurance plans that control dental benefit expenditures by reducing reimbursement levels, limiting access to care, transferring risk to the dental providers, and restricting the level, type and frequency of care.

Mandible The lower jaw bone. Mandibular.

Margin The contact point between any restorative material and the tooth structure that abuts or lies under it. Margins in properly executed are smooth, they do not have any rough areas or rough edges.

Maxilla The upper jaw bone. Maxillary.

Maximum Benefit Insurance companies set a maximum amount that they will pay out in benefits for each person covered under the plan. (Plan maximum)

Mesial The surface of a tooth that is the closest to the midline; opposite the buccal (cheek side) surface.

Nitrous Oxide/Oxygen Sedation A method of managing an anxious patient's stress by allowing them to breathe the nitrous oxide gas through an inhalation mask causing relaxation, drowsiness, euphoria, slight amnesia and slight analgesia.

Nonvital Tooth A tooth which has had the pulp removed by root canal therapy.

Occlusion The relationship between the upper teeth and the lower teeth when the mouth is closed

Occlusal The chewing surface of a tooth.

Onlay A gold and alloy restoration that is used to repair a tooth by covering the cusps. The onlay usually protects the tooth from fracture.

Open Bite This type of bite is one where the teeth do not meet properly. This problem is usually treated by orthodontics.

Oral Candidiasis (thrush) See thrush.

Orthodontics The specialty in dentistry dedicated to the correction of bite disorders or malocclusions

Osseous (Bone) Surgery Surgery that involves reshaping bone in the mouth.

Osteomyelitis Infection around a tooth that involves the bone supporting the tooth root.

Overbite Malocclusion involving a horizontal or vertical overlap. This type of bite problem usually requires orthodontic treatment to be successfully changed.

Overdenture A full-denture that is secured to the roots of natural teeth which have undergone root canal therapy and have crowns.

Panograph Radiograph An x ray that images the lower portion of the face for hidden pathology that is not seen easily by other types of x ray film or methods. Sometimes called a pan or pan x.

Partial Denture A partial denture can be used for replacement of teeth when a bridge is not suitable. The partial is removable, has a metal framework, replacement teeth, clasps and rests. It is supported by the teeth and also the tissues of the arch.

Pathology A pathology is a disease. Can be localized, such as an infected tooth or tissue, or be more general as in a bodily infection.

Pedodontics A specialty in dentistry for children dedicated to the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of oral disease in children

Periapical Radiograph An intraoral x-ray that shows the root tip or apex of the tooth and the area surrounding it

Pericoronitis Usually associated with wisdom teeth, this type of infection can be found around a partially erupted tooth.

Periodontal Disease A disease of the gum tissue and the underlying bone.

Periodontal Ligament The tiny fibers that connect the tooth root to the jaw bone

Periodontal Pocket When the gum tissue recedes from the crown of the tooth, spaces or pockets are created which hold bacteria and the resulting infection against the root surface of the tooth.

Periodontal Therapy Treatment to correct periodontal disease.

Periodontics The specialty in dentistry for the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of disease surrounding the supporting tissues and supporting structures of the teeth.

Periodontitis Advanced gum disease.

Permanent Dentition The second set of teeth, secondary dentition, permanent teeth.

Pin A pin is a small metal post which is cemented into the crown portion of a tooth to aid in the retention of a large filling.

Pin-retained Restoration See pin. Pins are placed when there is not enough tooth structure to adequately retain a filling.

Pit and Fissure Sealant See sealant.

Plaque The transparent, sticky layer of bacteria that constantly form and collect on the surface of the teeth and gums. If not removed or brushed away, it is responsible for the development of tooth decay and gingivitis.

Plan Maximum See maximum benefit.

Pocket See periodontal pocket.

Pontic The replacement tooth for a missing tooth that is the unit of a bridge.

Porcelain Restoration material made of glass available in a variety of shades to be used in natural restorations for teeth.

Post and Core Buildup A small metal rod is placed in the canal of a tooth that has had a root canal to give added support to the final crown. Placed in the upper two thirds of the root, the post is then surrounded by filling material that recreates the missing tooth structure so a crown has something to be cemented to for a permanent restoration.

Posterior Refers to the back, as in the back part of the mouth.

Preauthorization See predetermination.

Predetermination The amount of benefit that an insurance company agrees to pay for a procedure determined prior to the patient receiving treatment.

Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) A preferred group of dentists who have contracted to provide dental services at a discounted rate in return for access to the insurance plan's subscribers. Can be known as contract dental organization (CDO).

Pregnancy Gingivitis The swelling and bleeding of the gum tissue during pregnancy that is thought to be caused by hormonal changes during pregnancy.

Pregnancy Tumor A localized, inflamed enlargement of gum tissue during pregnancy

Primary Dentition The first set of teeth, baby teeth, milk teeth or deciduous teeth.

Prophylaxis The professional cleaning of the teeth and mouth that is completed by a dentist or hygienist in the dentist's office.

Prosthodontics A specialty of dentistry where the primary focus is in the intricacies of removable and fixed replacements for missing teeth.

Pulp Cavity The interior chamber of the tooth containing the blood vessels and nerves (pulp chamber)

Pulpectomy A procedure which removes the entire dental pulp.

Pulpotomy A procedure whereby a portion of the pulp is removed from within the crown of the tooth. Sometimes done as an emergency procedure to relieve the discomfort of a toothache in an adult.

Radiograph An x-ray. X-rays serve to record the tooth and its surrounding support structures on a special film.

Recurrant aphthous ulcers See canker sores.

Reline The procedure involving making a new, more closely fitting surface to the denture base to improve fit, function and performance.

Resins Tooth colored restoration materials including: Acid-etch resins, microfill resins, or bonded resins.

Resorption Shrinkage, or dissolving away of either tooth or bone structure.

Rests The metal components on partial dentures that keep the partial in place and anchored.

Retainer A removable appliance that keeps the teeth in proper position after braces are removed.

Root The part of a tooth which is below the crown and extends in to the jawbone. The root is a hollow and contains the pulp of the tooth.

Root Amputation Removal of the tooth root.

Root Canal The space in the root of the tooth where there is pulp tissue. Root canal therapy is the procedure to remove diseased/infected pulp tissue, the canal is then cleaned, shaped and filled.

Root Canal Therapy See root canal, endodontic therapy.

Root Planing The technique of smoothing the tooth root surface in order to make it more difficult for the plaque to accumulate, and allowing the gum tissue to reattach. Creates healthier gum conditions.

Scaling The removal of plaque and calculus from the root surface below the gumline. Done in combination with root planing.

Scheduled Plans See usual and customary rates, UCR

Sealant A protective covering of acid etched resin that is applied to the biting surfaces of newly erupted permanent teeth to prevent tooth decay.

Self-Insurance The employer acts as insurance provider. Instead of paying plan premiums to the insurance company, the employer issues benefits up to a certain dollar amount for the employee and their dependents. Plan benefits are paid to the dentist, or reimbursed to the employee after the services are provided.

Spacing A gap between the teeth.

Subscriber The person who has been issued an insurance policy by an insurance company. Immediate family covered under the subscriber's plan are called dependents.

Supernumerary Tooth An extra tooth.

Tartar See calculus

Teething The biting, chewing and sucking that children do to relieve discomfort when the primary teeth are erupting

Tempromandibular Joint(TMJ) The specialized hinge joint that connects the upper and lower jaws allowing you to chew.

Therapeutic Any product that treats or prevents a disease.

Thrush See oral candidiasis. A common infection of the inside of the mouth and tongue. Characterized by a yellow or white plaque, when wiped away the underlying tissue is red. Most often associated with a decreased host defense caused by a variety of drug therapies, and systemic diseases. Can be found in adults, children and infants.

TMJ See tempromandibular joint.

Topical Anesthetic Anesthetic applied by spraying or swabbing the surface tissue to provide some numbing relief prior to an injection.

Traditional Plan See indemnity plan.

Trauma Damage Injury or impairment that causes injury to the body

Twinning When two teeth grow from one tooth bud

UCR See usual and customary.

Unit Each anchor or abutment tooth and each replacement tooth (pontic) in a bridge.

Usual and Customary Rate(UCR) The fee for specific or particular service that has been established by an insurance company to be the usual and customary for your area. Resulting reimbursement benefits for insurance claims are based on this rate. Scheduled plan.

Vital Tooth A tooth that has a healthy pulp.

Xerostomia The technical term for dry mouth.

Zinc oxide and eugenol Powdered zinc oxide and liquid eugenol are mixed together as a base or temporary dental filling material.


Glossary Of Dental Terms
In Westerville Ohio and the surrounding
Columbus - New Albany - Gahanna - Worthington OH areas.

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Dr. Jarvis is licensed to perform all listed services as a general dentist. This provider is not a specialist in family, crowns,
gum disease, sedation, prosthodontics, orthodontics, endodontics, cosmetic, whitening, implants and non-specialty interest
areas that require no specific educational training to advertise this service.