Common Dental Definitions

Amalgam Restoration
: A traditional silver-colored tooth filling. Alternatives to treatment include are a white-colored filling (composite resin) or a silver-colored crown (stainless steel crown) placed over the top of a tooth.

Bite Wing X-Rays: Show the crowns of the teeth and can detect areas of decay and changes in bone due to periodontal disease.

Composite Resin Restoration: A more natural, white-colored tooth filling. An alternative to treatment is a silver-colored filling (amalgam restoration).

Dental Carries: Also known as decay or a cavity, is an infection, bacterial in origin, that causes demineralization and destruction of enamel.

Direct & Indirect Pulp Cap: The application of a medication directly or indirectly onto the nerve of a tooth after removing extensive decay. This treatment is used to promote healing of the nerve.

Extraction: Complete removal of a tooth or teeth. Non-treatment may result in, but is not limited to, infection, pain, swelling, periodontal disease, malocclusion (the way the teeth fit together) and systemic disease.

Local Anesthetic: Injection of a drug (such as lidocaine, epinephrine, septocaine, novocaine, prilocaine, mepivacaine, aricaine, or others) into the cheek or gum area, used to affect numbness in the area where dental restoration will be performed.

Nitrous Oxide: (N20) An inhalation sedative designed to relieve tension and anxiety associated with dental treatment. Nitrous Oxide is breathed in along with oxygen from a nosepiece. It results in a relaxed, detached feeling. It does not cause the patient to sleep, but they will remain awake and cooperative.

Non IV Sedation: Valium and Versed are liquid forms of sedation that will reduce anxiety and minimize discomfort associated with the proposed dental treatment. Conscious sedation aids in allowing a child to cope better with dental treatment, therefore preventing injury to the child and promoting a better environment for dental care.

Nu-Smile Crown: Silver-colored crown with a pre-fabricated white veneer facing, which is placed over front teeth following extensive tooth destruction/decay or complete removal of the nerve.

Panoramic X-Rays: (Pano) Shows all the teeth and surrounding structures on one large film. They can show unerupted or impacted teeth, cysts, jaw fractures, or tumors.

Periapical X-Rays: (PA) Taken using X-ray film held behind the teeth. They give detailed images of whole teeth and the surrounding tissues. They show unerupted or impacted teeth, root fractures, abscesses, cysts, and tumours, and can help diagnose some skeletal diseases.

Pulpectomy: Complete removal of an infected nerve followed by the placement of a medication to fill the nerve chamber and eliminate bacteria. This treatment requires placement of a full-coverage restoration to protect a tooth.

Pulpotomy: Partial removal of an infected nerve followed by the placement of a medication to preserve the remaining tissues. Usually requires the placement of a stainless steel crown to protect the remaining fragile tooth.

Stainless Steel Crown: Silver-colored crown placed overtop a tooth which has suffered excessive destruction/decay and/or complete or partial removal of its nerve.

Sealants: White colored tooth filling material used to fill pits and fissures commonly found on the tops and sides of the permanent molars. This procedure is a preventative measure typically recommended just after a tooth completes the eruptionTreasure chest process, and proven to reduce the risk of decay in the treated teeth.

X-Rays: Dental x-rays are images of the teeth and jaws that provide information for detecting, diagnosing, and treating conditions that can threaten oral and general health. There are three types of dental X-rays: periapical X-ray, bite-wing X-ray, and panoramic X-ray. The amount of radiation received from dental X-rays is extremely small. However, dental X-rays should be avoided during pregnancy.