Dental GlossaryAre you hearing terminology in the dentist’s office that you don’t understand? Are you finding words on your dental records that you need to look up? If so, you’re in the right place! We’ve put together a comprehensive dental glossary for dental patients. Now, when you hear something you don’t quite understand, you can easily look it up in our dental glossary.

Our glossary has over 500 terms that are specific to the field of dentistry. Just about any term relating to dentistry can be found on this page. We also made it easy to navigate by including links to the letter terms begin with, and creating links at the bottom of each section to allow you to quickly jump back up to the navigation.

To find a specific term, just use Ctrl+f to find the terms. All of the terms are here on one page, so you can search all the terms at once.

 

Glossary Navigation

A

abrasion

Abrasion- An abrasion is an injury that results for scraping or wearing away at the tissue in the mouth. This could be caused by injury to the mouth or the use of dental appliances.

abscess

Abscess – An abscess is any collection of pus and/or debris that grows in tissue — an abscess is generally pink to red in color, normally presenting with swelling, inflammation and tenderness. An abscess can present for any number of reasons in any part of the body, including the mouth.

abutment

A bridge or part of a structure that is involved with some dental procedure, specifically tooth implants and surgical procedures, that is needed to fix or cosmetically repair a person’s dental health or appearance.

abutment crown

The replacement tooth that has a connector attached to it to help connect it to the tooth that is having the crown fitted on it.

acid etching

Acid Etching is the process of using of an acidic chemical substance to strip enamel or dentin off of the tooth to prepare the surface for bonding.

acute periradicularacute apical abscess

Acute Periradicularacute Apical Abcess is an infection in the root of a tooth. It causes a lot of pain and typically is accompanied by fever and swelling. It happens when bacteria gets into the root which can be because the tooth is damaged or unhealthy.

ada

ADA is the American Dental Association. It gives dental health-related information to many of the dentists and dental patients around the U.S.

adhesive

The procedure of applying any substance to the surfaces of materials that binds them together to avoid separation between the same is called adhesive. Here a molecular force that exists in the area of contact between unlike bodies.

adjunctive

Adjunctive is a secondary treatment in addition to the primary treatment. Depending on the insurance coverage, these secondary treatments could be flouride treatments in adults, gum care, or nutrition counseling.

administrative costs

Administrative costs related to dental care include any overhead expenses, not including patient billing revenues, that are incurred while operating the dental care facility. They may include, but are not limited too: employee wages and salaries and office supplies/equipment.

administrative services only (aso)

An administrative services only is defined as when a company will fund its insurance plan for its employees. However, an outside company would be responsible for running the insurance plan.

administrator

An administrator is a person or persons that is responsible for the management of a person’s insurance policy. The duties of an administor could include but are not limited to answering questions about a policy or paying out a claim.

adolescent dentition

Adolescent dentition refers to the stage of permanent dentition but prior to the stage where the teeth stop growing – adult dentition.

adult dentition

Adult dentition is another name for the adult teeth that replace adolescent teeth that fall out over the course of puberty. These teeth are expect to last the rest of the person’s lifetime.

adverse selection

Adverse selection is when a negative outcome occurs when a buyer and seller have access to different information. This usually results in a bad selection or the wrong selection occurring.

allograft

Allograft involves taking tissue from a donor and placing it in a recipient during a medical procedure. A dentist may transfer fragments of bone from one person to another if the process is applicable to a patient’s condition.

alloplastic

Alloplastic refers to a material that is not biological, it is man-made, such as metal or ceramic or plastic. These materials are used medically for making implants or prosthetics.

allowable charge

The maximum amount that an insurer will consider to pay for a service, including any amount that the patient will be responsible for paying. Allowable charge is also referred to as the Allowed amount, Approved charge, Maximum allowable or Reasonable Charge.

alloy

A combination of two or more metals or a composed material of a metal and a nonmetal is called an alloy. It may be a single phase or a mixture of metallic phases or an inter metallic compound without any boundary between the phases.

alternate benefit

Alternate benefit pertains to a separate benefit payment plan offered by some dental offices to assists you with your oral health expenses and surgical needs.

alternative benefit plan

States have the option to provide alternative benefits specifically tailored to meet the needs of certain Medicaid population groups, target residents in certain areas of the state, or provide services through specific delivery systems instead of following the traditional Medicaid benefit plan.

alternative delivery system

A new and different type of way a person who is undergoing a dental procedure can get a local anesthesia during something like a surgery where a lot of pain is discomfort might be involved.

alveolar

Alveolar is relating to the jaw section that contains tooth sockets. Also known as the roof of the mouth between the upper teeth and the hard palate or on the bottom of the mouth behind the lower teeth.

alveolar bone

Commonly known as the tooth socket, the alveolar bone is the main support for teeth, anchoring them to both the upper and lower jaws by a tissue called cementum.

alveolar process

The alveolar process is the part of the mouth that contains the tooth sockets. It is a thickened ridge of bone and is also called the “alveolar ridge.” In humans, the alveolar processes are the maxillae and the mandible.

alveoloplasty

Alveoloplasty – often referred to as “bone trimming”, alveoplasty is a surgical procedure which smooths out the sharp areas of the jawbone that commonly occur after multiple tooth extractions.

alveolus

Alveolus are also called tooth sockets where the roots of the teeth are located in the jaw bone held in place by the periodontal ligament.

amalgam

An alloy of different metals including silver, tin, copper and mercury which has been used for over 150 years in dentistry to fill cavities in teeth. Commonly referred to as “silver fillings” because of the color.

analgesia

Analgesia is the act of controlling or eliminating pain during a dental procedure, either with pain medication, or other methods.

anatomical crown

The natural, top part of a tooth which is covered in enamel and is the part that you can see extending above the gum line.

ancillary

A person whose work provides necessary support to the primary activities of an organization, system, field, management, etc.

anesthesia

anesthesia is a medical procedure to control pain during surgery. It is a temporary state consisting of unconsciousness, painless, loss of memory and muscle relaxation.

ankylosis

A dental abnormality in which the tooth becomes fused directly to the jawbone, which prevents the tooth from erupting. The cause of ankylosis is unknown, and can occur in both baby teeth and permanent teeth.

anomaly

An anomaly is usually defined as something that deviates from the standard, normal or expected.

ansi

ANSI is the American National Standards Institute. It oversees the creation and use of many guidelines that impact businesses all around the world.

anterior

Anterior- The term anterior is usually used when referring to the teeth, specifically the incisors and canines. It refers to the direction of the root tip of the tooth.

anxiolysis

Anxiolysis refers to the state of a patient experiencing mild sedation in the mouth prior to a dental operation. It is achieved either by local anesthetics applied via injection, or administered in gaseous form.

any willing provider

Any willing provider means that a managed health care plan must accept any qualified insurance provider who is willing to accept the terms and conditions of a managed care plan.

apex

Apex is the end or the last part of the root in a tooth. It can also be defined as the extremity or the terminal portion of the root.

apexification

Apexification is the process of promoting closure of the root in a treated tooth using calcium hydroxide paste or other tissue-tolerant material in the root canal after a root canal..

apexogenesis

A pulp therapy procedure that is used to help promote healthy growth and development of a tooth’s root end. It assists with the proper formation of the root.

apicoectomy

An apicoectomy is a dental procedure in which a tooth’s tip is removed and a cavity that has set itself into the root is removed and filled with a safe material.

appeal

An appeal in the medical field is a request by a medical professional or office to the third party payer, or insurance provider, in which they ask them to reconsider paying for a claim or procedure that they have previously refused to pay.

arch

The dental arch refers to one of the two arrangements of teeth located in the human jawbone. Each arch is a crescent arrangement of teeth, one in the lower jaw (mandibular arch) and one in the upper jaw (maxilliary arch).

areas of oral cavity

Areas of oral cavity are the inside of the mouth. It’s mainly the empty space behind the teeth and gums, but the inside of the mouth is the entire oral cavity.

arthrogram

An arthrogram is the procedure of injecting a substance and then x-ray to a bone structure to allow an examination of possible problems that are found.

artificial crown

An artificial crown is used to repair a broken, or damaged tooth. The crown may be placed over a large filling or a broken tooth, or may be needed if the patient has had a root canal.

assignment of benefits

Authorization where a beneficiary or patient authorizes the administrator of the program (insurance company) to forward payment for a covered procedure directly to the treating medial professional.

attending dentist’s statement

Attending dentist’s statement contains all the patient details including address, kind of issue the patient has been facing and their pretreatment estimate and doctors analysis.

audit

Generally speaking, an audit is an investigation into a business record. In medicine, an audit refers to an investigation by an insurance company into the specifics of a procedure, treatment, or office visit in order to verify whether or not it is covered under the patient’s insurance plan.

autogenous graft

A bone graft from the patient himself, as opposed to a cadaver, bovine or bone substitute. A bone graft is usually performed for the purpose of building a better foundation for dental implants.

balance billing

The term used for balance billing can also be defined in a more simplified manner such as using a spread sheet or simple math to calculate the total amount of billing costs compared to the amount you need to meet the billing total.

beneficiary

A natural person or other legal entity who receives money or other benefits from a benefactor is called beneficiary. Also known as someone who is eligible to receive distributions from a trust.

benefit

A feature or factor that a person or individuals under a specific plan can use in regards to what type of procedure will be covered under the program that they are applied under.

benign

Benign is a medical term used to describe an object or growth that is not immediately harmful to the body. It is the opposite of malignant.

bicuspid

A bicuspid is a type of tooth characterized by having two cusps, or points. This generally refers to human premolars. Bicuspid is another name for the human premolars, of which there are usually eight total, two in each quadrant, and they are positioned between the canines and molars.

biologic materials

Biologic materials refers to living or formerly living tissue, muscles, cells, etc, like skin or bones.

biopsy

In dentistry, a biopsy consists of removing an area of soft tissue inside the mouth in order to help diagnose a lesion that has no obvious cause.

birthday rule

A birthday rule comes into play when a child’s parents have 2 different types of dental insurance. The parent whose birthday is the earliest in the calendar year becomes the primary insurance coverage for the children.

bitewing radiograph

A bitewing radiograph refers to an image, produced utilizing radiation (generally a standard X-ray), specific to the bitewing view of the mouth. The bitewing radiograph allows the dentist or technician to examine the bone condition of the crowns of the posterior teeth and alveolar bone.

bleaching

A procedure in dentistry that assists in whitenting teeth.

bonding

In dental terms bonding is most likely the least expensive cosmetic procedure and one of the easiest. Resin, is a compound that can be shaped and formed to a tooth that may have a chip, crack, hole and even gaps. It adheres nicely to the tooth and can be done by most all dentists.

bridge

A dental bridge refers to the process of creating a bridge over a gap in the teeth, usually from one or more missing teeth.

bruxism

Bruxism is the excessive grinding of the teeth and/or excessive clenching of the jaw. It is an oral para functional activity. It is unrelated to normal function such as eating or talking.

buccal

Buccal means relating to the mouth, or relating to the cheek. For example, the buccal surface of the tooth is the part of the tooth that touches the cheek, as opposed to the palatal surface of the tooth, which would be the side of the tooth that touches the tongue.

bundling of procedures

Providing service of multiple procedures in one sitting for the convenience of the patient’s schedule and the billing cycle process.

cafeteria plan

A cafeteria plan is a plan that allows a group of employees to select from different types of benefits. Qualified Cafeteria Plans are excluded from gross income by the IRS. They have to offer either different types of benefits or cash options.

calculus

A form of a hardened dental plaque on an individual’s teeth, which is also referred to as tartar, that develops overtime due to various reasons such as poor hygiene or diet.

canal

The space and area between the tooth’s root in a person’s mouth that is usually involved with some dental procedures such as a root canal and other surgeries involving the mouth.

cantilever extension

A dental procedure that involves a surgery using a device that helps with fixing the gaps in between missing teeth in a person’s mouth for health and cosmetic reasons.

capitation

Capitation is a health care term. It is an annual fee or amount that is paid to a doctor or dentist based on the amount of patients in their care for a period of time. It is paid to the medical professional whether or not the patient seeks care in that period of time or not. The more patients listed as being in the care of a physician, the higher the capitation.

caries

A form of tooth decay and deterioration of oral health that is due to an infection from a bacterial origin in a person’s mouth that causes the demineralization and destruction of hard tissues.

cariogenic

Cariogenic is defined as something that would cause tooth decay. Dentists typically suggest that you avoid cariogenic substances or brush thoroughly after consuming these foods.

case management

Dental case management is a government funded program which helps low income families receive dental care. This program is to increase the amount of poverty stricken families that actually visit a dentist routinely instead of just when they have a problem.

castdiagnostic caststudy model

It is a dental impression made of a full set of teeth. It is used to help make future sets of dentures, or to help make replacements for partials as well. They can also be used in cases of helping to figure out how to repair damages from congenital defects or accidents.

cavity

A cavity is a decayed section of a tooth. Cavities can typically be filled, however can require more invasive procedures such as root canals depending upon the severity.

cement base

Cement base is a dental alternative to mercury when it comes to teeth fillings. Cements can be made out of various compounds, the most popular including Calcium Hydroxide and Glass/Hybrid Ionomers.

cementum

A thin layer of a bone like substance that covers the root, and sometimes other parts of a tooth. Also known as cement, this substance is yellow and not as hard as enamel.

centers for medicare and medicaid services (cms)

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (abbreviated CMS) is a federal agency that is charged with administrating the Medicare program. It is also responsible for working with states to administer other health-related social programs, like Medicaid.

cephalometric image

Computer generated image used to regenerate a tooth to fit the mouth the exact way the teeth would fit in a patients mouth before surgery.

chronic periradicularchronic periapical abscess

Chronic abscesses result from inflammation and infection of a tooth. Periradicular abscesses originate at some point along the tooth root while periapical refers specifically to an infection around the root tip.

claim

A claim is an official request for payment sent to an insurance company on behalf of the patient and the dental provider. A claim lists the services provided as well as the service dates and an itemization.

claim form

A claim form developed by the American Dental Association used to report any dental procedures provided to a patient in order to file for benefits under a dental benefit program.

claimant

A person or another authorized person who makes a claim for benefits. The benefits could be for any dental work that needs to be done, or any other work necessary

claims payment fraud

A manipulation of facts or procedure codes submitted by a dentist that will most likely result in a lower payment for the procedure instead of normal payment had the fraud not been committed.

claims reporting fraud

The intentional misrepresentation of material facts concerning treatment provided and charges made to cause a higher payment.

cleft lip

A cleft lip is a birth defect found in newborn children. The cleft refers to a gap that develops on the top lip, creating a space that splits the top lip into two visible parts.

cleft palate

Cleft palate is a condition in which the two plates of the skull that form the hard palate (roof of the mouth) are not completely joined and occurs in about 1 in 700 live births worldwide

clenching

Clenching is the act of pressing the teeth together with force. This is typically done out of anger or to suppress some other emotion.

clinical crown

A reproduction of a part of top of a person’s tooth that is used to cover a missing area of said tooth to prevent further deterioration of the area due to constant use and aging.

closed panel

In the staff model, physicians are salaried and have offices in HMO buildings. In this case, physicians are direct employees of the HMOs. This model is an example of a closed-panel HMO, meaning that contracted physicians may only see HMO patients.

closed panel

A closed panel is a type of HMO, health maintenance organization, where the user selects their primary physician and/or dentist. The physician or dentist can then recommend other specialists as needed that are in or out of the system.

closed reduction

Closed reduction is a procedure to reduce or set a broken bone without surgery. This allows the bone to grow back together without any issue after several days to get into its normal condition.

coinsurance

Coinsurance is the amount the insured is required to pay toward a given claim. This is usually expressed in the form of a percentage, but could be a fixed dollar amount.

complete denture

A reproduction of a persons teeth meant to replace said individual’s missing teeth, so that the individual can eat normally with no problems. This is also done for cosmetic reasons.

complete series

A complete series refers to a full set of x-rays including all bitewings and periapical films. These are usually completed yearly and are used as a basis for developing a treatment plan.

composite

A composite filling is a tooth-colored plastic and glass mixture used to restore decayed teeth. Composites are also used for cosmetic improvements.

compound fracture

This is a type of fracture where a bone is coming out of the skin and protruding. Compound fractures specifically cause a wound because they break skin.

comprehensive oral evaluation

A procedure that involves examining a patient’s overall dental health, making sure that there are no issues and problems with said patient that need to be addressed.

comprehensive periodontal evaluation

A comprehensive periodontal evaluation is basically an annual oral check-up. It is to examine your teeth, gums, bite, plaque, and risk factors and check for any signs of oral diseases or development of diseases. It is an evaluation of your periodontal health.

conscious sedation

Conscious sedation is a medically controlled state of sedation during which the subject is kept from losing consciousness so that the airway, protective reflexes, and the ability to respond to stimulation or verbal commands are preserved.

consolidated omnibus budget reconciliation act (cobra)

Cobra is an insurance plan offered to employees to continue to be covered under their current health care plan after they are no longer employed with the company that offered the plan. The employee is fully responsible for all costs included in this plan.

consultation

A consultation in the medical field is a discussion between two or more physicians or medical professionals in order to determine the best diagnosis or best course of treatment for a particular patient.

contract

In common law legal systems, a contract, or informally known as an agreement in some jurisdictions, is an agreement having a lawful object entered into voluntarily by two or more parties, each of whom intends to create one or more legal obligations between them. Dental contracts are created between dentists and clients.

contract dentist

A contract dentist is a dentist, usually freshly graduated, that works for an employer under contractual obligations that they enter into before their employment begins.

contract fee schedule plan

A contract fee schedule plan is a plan where participating dental professionals agree to accept a list of specific fees as the total fees for dental treatment provided.

contract practice

A dental office that has a contract with an insurance company to provide dental services under the terms of the contract in which they signed.

contract term

A contract term is the length of time that the contract and its details will be active. The total time you will be obligated to the contract itself and all of its fine print. There could be some form of punishment in the event you break from this before the full contract term is completed.

contributory program

A contributory program is a dental benefits program in which a sponsor contributes some of the premium each month. The sponsor is usually the employer and the benefit is made available through the employee’s total benefits package.

coordination of benefits (cob)

A benefits package that is signed by the patient or guardian to acknowledge that they are going to be treated at that particular location for their oral health without the patients ability to find reason for punitive damages.

copayment

A copayment is an amount paid by a health insurance beneficiary as part of their share of the allowed amount. This amount is usually paid at the time of the visit.

coping

Coping is a small metal cap or piece that is put over a person’s tooth before a crown or cap is placed. It helps prepare the tooth for this procedure and can also be used on the root of a tooth is needed.

core buildup

When a tooth needs a crown, but there is not enough material to build it; an additional section is made using artifical materials until it is big enough to hold onto the crown. In case there is an exposed nerve, other materials will be put in first to protect that part.

coronal

Coronal in dental terms means in the direction of or relating to the crown of the tooth (as opposed to the root). A coronal polishing would entail a brushing and cleansing of the surfaces of the crowns of one’s teeth.

cosmetic dentistry

The term cosmetic dentistry can be defined the same way cosmetic surgery is defined. The person has elected to alter the appearance of a part of his/her body to resemble the ideal look that is accepted in society today. In this case it is altering the teeth by straightening and cleaning.

cost containment

Cost containment is defined as a part of a dental program designed to lower the cost of treatment options. It also describes the ability to change certain areas of a dental plan.

cost sharing

Cost sharing describes the amount of money that a beneficiary must pay towards their dental care, including the deductibles, copayments, coinsurance, and charges over the amount reimbursed by the dental benefit plan.

coverage

Coverage is a term used to indicate what is included in a dental policy. Coverage can refer to specific procedures, policies or effective dates. If a patient has coverage for a procedure, the dental insurance company will pay according to the certificate of coverage.

covered charges

Covered charges is a medical insurance term. It means that the services that your dentist provided to you are covered by your dental benefit plan. There may be other charges that apply to the patient, such as a flat-rate copay, but the majority of the price of the service is paid for by the insurance company.

covered person

A covered person is one who is covered by some form of health insurance that includes dental work. A covered person will be able to receive consultations and necessary dental work under the coverage of their health insurance; anything beyond their coverage must be paid out of pocket.

covered services

Covered services are medical procedures or services which have been approved for payment by an insurance company. Insurance providers may have different terms or guidelines for covering certain services. Typically covered services must be deemed medically necessary.

cracked tooth syndrome

Cracked tooth syndrome involves a tooth that has incompletely cracked but no part of the tooth has been broken off. The symptoms are different from each other, it is totally depending upon the diagnosed condition.

crown

A dental crown is a device used to cap a tooth. It covers the tooth to improve its appearance, strength and usability. A crown is cemented on and can be considered semi-permanent.

crown lengthening

A surgical procedure performed by a dentist to expose a greater amount of tooth structure for the purpose of subsequently restoring the tooth is called Crown lengthening. This process is used to adjust the gum and bone level to expose more of the tooth so it can be restored.

culture and sensitivity test

The culture and sensitivity test is used to determine what is causing an illness and which antibiotics or medicine are they weakened by the worst. It is how we determine what cures a sickness.

curettage

A curettage is a tool designed to scrape or scoop soft tissue from the mouth or other body part. In the mouth, it is used to scrape away tissue near the teeth to promote the growth of new, disease free tissue.

current procedural terminology (cpt)

The current procedural terminology (cpt) is a standardized way of sharing information about the medical services rendered that is easily understood by patients and doctors alike.

cusp

A point on the grinding surface of a tooth.

cuspid

A cuspid is a tooth with a single cusp or point. Cuspid is another name for human canine teeth. These teeth are located between the incisors and the first premolar, and are recognizable by their elongated and sharp appearance. Humans have four cuspids, or canine teeth, one in each dental quadrant.

cyst

A cyst can be the size of a pea (a small lump) under the skin. They most likely come due to an infection. Its basically a small cluster of cells that have grouped together to form a small sac or bubble.

cytology

Cytology is the study of cellular structure and their make up chemistry. It helps determine their function and is usually taken from tissue or fluid samples from the body. It can help diagnose diseases such as cancer and other ailments.

debridement

debridement is the removal of calculus and plaque that have been gathered around your teeth in order to keep your oral health in good condition and avoid tooth decay or tooth diseases.

decay

Decay is defined as the process of a dead, rotted area on a tooth. It is also referred to as a dead tooth structure.

deciduous

Deciduous or deciduous teeth are the teeth that grow during the first phase of teething period in a baby. It usually starts to grow at the age of 6 months to 2 1/2 years. These teeth total 20 in number, and are classified as incisors, canine and molar teeth. These teeth normally begin falling out at the age of 5 to 6 years.

deciduous dentition

Deciduous teeth are commonly called baby teeth or primary teeth. Developing during the embryonic stage of development and become visible in the mouth during early childhood. These teeth are usually lost beginning at age 6 (approx) and are then replaced by permanent teeth.

deep sedation

Deep sedation is a drug-induced level of consciousness in which patients cannot be easily woke up, but respond normally following painful or repeated stimulation. A patient’s ability to breathe on their own may be impaired, but cardiovascular function is maintained normally.

definitive prosthesis

A definitive prosthesis is a partial or full replacement of a permanent part of the body. In dental terms, an example of this might be a replacement for part of the soft palate or missing teeth.

dental assessment

A dental assessment is an appointment that is scheduled to examine and identify potential signs of oral disease, tooth decay or injury. During the dental assessment, the patient may be referred to appropriate specialists for proper diagnosis and treatment.

dental benefit organization

An entity that takes care of all factors involved with dental plans and programs for individuals that take care of their payments when dental procedure need to be used.

dental benefit plan

Insurance for dental care. Just like people have health insurance to cover doctor visits, dental insurance covers visits to the dentist. It can help reduce the out of pocket costs of dental care.

dental benefit program

A payment plan offered by an office who assists patients with dental procedures by allowing them to make payments at the time of the procedure.

dental enrollment credentialing

Dental enrollment credentialing is the process in which a new provider enrolls with an insurance company and has their credentials checked. Once this process is complete, the provider will be considered in-network for the insurance carrier.

dental home

A dental home is the dentist which provides all preventive and restorative care for a patient through a ongoing relationship. Oral healthcare is delivered in a comprehensive manner through the dental home.

dental implant

A dental implant is a piece of material that is inserted into the existing bone to support an artificial tooth.

dental insurance

Dental insurance is typically purchased by a person or offered through a person’s employer. This insurance helps to offset the cost of dental expenses including dental fees for service, procedures, etc.

dental prepayment

Dental prepayment is an arrangement between a service provider and the network operator to provide a select set of preselected services. The patient is still obligated to pay any required copay.

dental prophylaxis

A dental prophylaxis is performed not only to clean the teeth, but also to evaluate the oral cavity for any other problems that might be present. The cleaning not only includes what you can see, but also the area under the gumline, which is the most important part. For this reason, non-anesthetic cleaning is not a viable option.

dental prosthesis

A dental prosthesis is an artificial device used to correct dental defects such as missing teeth (or missing parts of teeth). They can also be used to replace missing soft or hard structures of the jaw and palate.

dental service corporation

A dental service corporation is an organization that compiles and collects contracts for dental care. It is a non-profit organization. It is a company that provides dental insurance packages and plans to people and companies, e.g. Blue Cross and Blue Shield.

dental specialist

A dental specialist is a chosen profession that focuses on the health and well being of your teeth. They are experts at determining if a tooth is in need of cleaning or removal of cavities. They also determine if a tooth is salvageable and if not help in the removal and replacement of said tooth.

dentin

Dentin is the hard, dense, calcareous (made up of calcium carbonate) material that makes up the majority of the tooth underneath the enamel. It is harder and more dense than bone. It is one of four components that make up the tooth. It is the second layer of the tooth.

dentistry

Dentistry is the study and treatment of diseases of the mouth. Dentistry covers many areas of oral care, including not only dental cavities but also areas such as gum disease and oral surgery.

dentition

Dentition refers to the arrangement of teeth in the mouth, how many teeth are present in a certain species, and the types of teeth present. It can also refer to tooth development, often called “cutting teeth” or “teething.”

denture

Dentures are false teeth, historically made from a variety of materials. They are supported both by their own design and against both hard and soft tissues in the mouth. Dentures are also generally removed daily, as only a part time replacement for missing teeth.

denture base

A denture base is putting in a sound structure lining the gums that allow the dentures to fit and hold a good seal so that bacteria and plaque don’t sit on the gums while the dentures are in place.

dependents

Dependents are those who rely on you financially, typically a child. In dental terms that normally means until 19 years old, but may be longer on some dental insurance plans.

detailed and extensive oral evaluation

A detailed and extensive oral evaluation includes a cleaning with flouride, a periodontal exam, and x-rays. A detailed medical and dental history is included as well as any medications the patient may be on is discussed at this time.

diagnostic cast

A diagnostic cast is a replica of a patient’s teeth that is created using an impression. The cast is then used as a diagnostic tool for the dental team.

diagnostic imaging

Determining the type of imaging a doctor uses on a patient is called diagnostic imaging. It includes various types of scans and X-rays. Many these tests are painless and easy.

diastema

Diastema is a space between the upper incisors. This occurs when there is an unequal relationship between the size of the teeth and the jaw.

direct pulp cap

A technique used to directly apply a protective substance to the exposed pulp of a tooth cavity. It is used to prevent the pulp from decaying and having to perform a root canal.

direct pulp cap

Direct pulp cap is one of two kinds of pulp capping. In direct pulp capping, the dentist exposes and removes all of the cavity in the tooth and immediately covers the pulp with a disinfecting agent.

direct reimbursement

Direct Reimbursement is self-funding employee dental benefits. The supporters are American Dental Association. It is a low cost way to provide a dental plan for employees and they have the opportunity to choose their own dentist.

direct restoration

direct teeth restoration means restoring the missing tooth structure with the help of restorative material by a dentist. Usually it’s done by in a clinical setup without the need for admission.

displaced tooth

A tooth that has become misaligned either through trauma or a defect. The tooth will not have been completely knocked out but will be displaced, pushed forward or back, sideways or rotated.

distal

This refers to the direction pointing to the last tooth in each dental arch quadrant.

dressing

Dressing is defined as a covering to an open wound such as bandages, gauze or other measures used to prevent infection and bleeding.

drgs (diagnosis related groups)

Diagnosis related groups are used by hospitals to classify cases. The system consists of 467 different groups with the 467th group being “ungroupable”. The ungroupable classification would include any cases that do not fit into the other groups.

dry socket

It is a possible complication after having a tooth removed. The scab that covers the socket is removed, and leaves it exposed to everything. It can easily be infected afterwards. The dentist may have to pack it with something to encourage healing and prevent infection from setting in it.

dual choice program

A voluntary enrollment of a people in the Kaiser Foundation Health Plan in San Francisco Bay Area Region of North California at the time of World War II is called dual choice program. This is a prepayment plan of each person in the mid-forties with the help of insurance plans.

edentulous

To be edentulous means to be toothless, without teeth, or is the result of tooth loss. Partial edentulous refers to only being without some teeth and complete edentulous refers to being completely toothless.

eligibility date

The specific time and date when a person or people under a certain plan and program can take advantage of the benefits and service available underneath their insured plan.

employment retirement income security act (erisa)

The Employment Retirement Income Security Act (abbreviated ERISA) is a piece of legislation passed by Congress in 1974 that establishes certain minimums in retirement plans, the benefits therein, and the methods through which employers may be required to contribute to said plans.

enamel

Dental enamel is the hard thin translucent layer that serves as protection for the dentin of a tooth crown. It is made up of calcium salts.

endodontics

The study of teeth that involve the center (pulp) to the root of a tooth. It focuses on cause of tooth decay, diagnosis and treatment of infected tooth. Treatment can include extraction of the tooth, removal and replacement of the pulp and even removal of the nerve by tooth.

endodontist

Endodontists are doctor specialists that focus on doing special dental procedures regarding the teeth. The most common procedures that endodontists perform are root canals.

endosteal (endosseous)

An endosteal, or endosseous, is a type of dental implant. It is an implant using a screw, blade, or pin that is inserted directly into the jawbone through the alveolar or basal bone, and then protrudes through the mucoperiosteum in order to support a prosthetic or artificial tooth.

enteral

It typically involves the gastrointestinal tract, usually the small intestine. It sometimes involves the use of a feeding tube to the intestinal track when normal feeding is not possible.

eposteal (subperiosteal)

Eposteal Implant,s also called Subperiosteal, are dental implants for patients who have no or little jaw bone. An Eposteal implant is the large devise that is custom made to fit the contours of the jaw bones. A surgical incision is made though the gum tissues to expose the bone, positioning the implant frame directly to the bone, and the gum tissues are stitched up over the framework through several stitches to hold a prosthetic device.

erosion

Dental, or acid erosion is the eating away of enamel and dentin by foods and drinks with a low pH. Often thought to be caused by pop and certain fruit juices.

eruption

Perforation of blood generally from the root of the tooth after an extraction, an extremely deep cavity, and/or untreated oral infection.

established patient

An established patient is a patient that has been seen by a provider or another provider in the provider group within the previous three years. The patient has an established relationship with the practice.

evaluation

A typical dental evaluation means when the dentist will go over your health to get an overall idea of what concerns you should have and to identify any possible problem areas in your oral hygiene.

evidence-based dentistry

Evidence-based dentistry is the process of using current scientific evidence to guide dental decision making. This process examines a patient’s oral health and compares it to established scientific data.

excision

Excision is the process of surgically removing a tooth or connecting tissue at it’s base from the jaw.

exclusions

Exclusions refer to procedures that are not covered by a dental insurance policy. This could include cosmetic procedure and procedures determined to be not medically necessary.

exclusive provider organization (epo)

Exclusive provider organization is a managed healthcare plan that allows the patient to only go to in-network doctors or hospitals unless they are experiencing an emergency

exfoliative

Exfoliative describes the thin layer of skin or epidermis shed from the surface of the gum area.

explanation of benefits

It is paperwork sent by the insurance company explaining what procedures were done, and who the patient and doctor was. It breaks down the amount of money paid for everything, and what was paid for by the insurance company and by the patient. It sometimes also tells what claims were denied, in case the patient wants to file an appeal.

extended care facility

An extended care facility is any facility which provides long term health care. In the frame of dental work, this may be a facility where a patient who recently underwent surgery receives medical support while recuperating for the time following the surgery.

extension of benefits

Extension of benefits is when a policy allows employees or their hospitalized dependents to extend coverage past that expiration date. This only lasts until the employee returns to work or the dependent is discharged from the hospital.

extracoronal

Extracoronal is outside the crown of a tooth.

extraction

An extraction is the proper surgical removal of any particular item. In the framework of dentistry, this would perhaps most often refer to the extraction of teeth, perhaps due to severe damage or decay, severe traumatic injury to the tooth, or to reduce crowding.

extraoral

Extraoral can mean on the outside of a tooth or cavity or it can refer to the outside of the mouth.

exudate

When a liquid escapes from the body through the pores or a wound. The liquid usually contains many different materials in it, and sometimes contains pus from an infected area of the body. It can also leave a scab on a wound when it dries up.

facial

A procedure involving a variety of skin treatments is called facial. It allows us to protect our skin from various situations such as sun light, pollution and doing some other physical tired tasks in daily life.

fee

It is a certain amount a patient has to pay to be able to use the services of their doctor or dentist. Sometimes it is also known as a copay, and it is usually a small amount of money to be paid before an appointment. Often it is not covered or rembursed by the insurance agency.

fee schedule

A fee schedule is the listing of fees used by Medicare to reimburse doctors for services rendered to patients. This lists the maxium fee that doctors can expect to be reimbursed.

fee-for-service

Payment owed to the dentist for any work done or information given by the practitioner. This payment could be seen as a price for seeing the dentist; it is the price at which the dentist feels his/her time spent is worth.

filling

A filling is a type of material that goes into a drilled or cleaned out tooth to restore its ability to be used regularly. Typically this is used after a root canal due to the opening left in a tooth.

fixed partial denture

A fixed partial denture or bridge is an artificial tooth that replaces a missing one. It is either bonded to the adjacent, intact teeth, by dental cement, or by placing crowns on the adjacent teeth.

fixed prosthesis

A fixed prosthesis is a dental area that focuses on permanent restoration of either single or groups of teeth. This can include crowns, veneers, bridges, inlays, and onlays.

fixed-removable prosthesis

Fixed-removable prosthesis is a custom set of artificial teeth to replace missing or removed teeth. The fixed-removable prosthesis can be removed by the user to make cleaning easier.

flexible spending account

A Tax-advantaged financial account that can be set up through a cafeteria plan of an employer in the United States is called flexible spending account (FSA), also known as a flexible spending arrangement.

foramen

A foramen is a broad term that refers to any natural opening in a bone. This can be a short passage like the ear canal or be as open as an orifice like the mouth or nostril.

fracture

Fracture is defined as an act of breaking something, such as a tooth or bony structure within the mouth.

franchise dentistry

A dental practice that is not owned and operated by a local dentist, rather, it is owned by a corporation and there are many locations that are owned by said company. While there may be dentists running or working there, it is not owned by the dentist him or herself.

freedom of choice

At least two options and most infinite choices to select an action/task without any conditions to perform is called freedom of choice. If the person do not have any restrictions to make their choice.

frenum

The frenum is the piece of skin that connects the lower lip to the lower jaw. It is also what the tissue that connect the tongue and lips to the gums.

full fee

A full fee is also known as a fee. This amount reflects the cost for the procedure being done as well as the cost of the dentist’s time to do this procedure. Most dentist come up with these fee amounts using their best judgment and they rarely fluctuate.

full-mouth x-rays

A procedure involving an x-ray machine that is used to assess a person’s full dental health to make sure there are no underlying issues that need to be fixed and addressed.

furcation

Bone loss as a result of tooth disease. It usually occurs at the root trunk of the tooth, where two or more roots come together.

gate keeper system

A gate-keeper system is a managed-care concept used by some benefit plans where beneficiary’s elect a primary care dental professional who is responsible for providing nonspecialty care and managing referrals, as appropriate, for specialty and ancillary services.

general anesthesia

Medicine that is given to the patient as they go under for a specific type of surgery. It usually wears off the same day and is best used to help the patient not feel the pain of the work being done.

genetic test

Genetic Test is a type of medical test that identifies changes in chromosomes, genes, or proteins. Also help determine a person’s chance of developing or passing on a genetic disorder.

gingiva

They are the gums that help hold your teeth in place and help protect the teeth from any infection or damage from food and everyday interactions with the outer world.

gingival hyperplasia

Gingival hyperplasia- Gingival hyperplasia is a condition marked by an overgrowth of gum tissue within the mouth. This is a common condition related to the drug phenytoin, which is used to treat epileptic seizures.

gingivectomy

Gingivectomy-Is a surgical procedure done on the gums, it is done when someone suffers an extreme case of gingivitis that mostly likely causing other serious health conditions. A Gingivectomy will reshape the gums, remove the gingivitis and give your teeth a more natural shape.

gingivitis

Gingivitis is a common type of gum disease. It can result in gums becoming red, swollen and irritated. It is caused by lack of proper dental care. It can lead to more serious gum issues and sometimes even loss of teeth. To prevent this, you should brush and floss daily and obtain regular dental checkups .

gingivoplasty

Gingivoplasty- Gingivoplasty is a surgical procedure typically performed by a periodontist to reshape the healthy gum tissue surrounding the teeth. Severe cases of gingivitis typically require this procedure.

glass ionomer

A glass ionomer is the cement like restorative material that dentists use for dental fillings. It is similar to the natural color of teeth and has been used for over 40 years.

gold foil

A material and substance used in the restoration of a person’s tooth or teeth in specific areas that have been affected due to various reasons such as hygiene, trauma, and aging.

graft

A surgical procedure to move tissue from one site to another on the body, or from another person without bringing its own blood supply with it. Sometimes it can be an artificially manufactured device.

guided tissue regeneration (gtr)

Guided Tissue Regeneration (gtr) is an attempt to regenerate lost tissue due to dental procedures that did not take as expected. This process is attempted using different materials in hopes that the tissue will once again attach in the correct area to the affected areas.

health insurance portability and accountability act (hipaa) of 1996

Health insurance portability and accountability act (hipaa) of 1996 is an act that protects the patient’s privacy as well as coverage for workers and their families when they change or lose their jobs.

health maintenance organization (hmo)

An HMO is a type of dental insurance coverage that accepts financial responsibility for providing dental services to those covered under their policy. Care is provided by providers listed as acceptable through the HMO.

healthcare provider taxonomy

The Healthcare Provider Taxonomy Code Set is a hierarchical code set that consists of codes, descriptions, and definitions that are designed to categorize the type, classification, and/or specialization of health care providers consisting of two sections: Individuals and Groups of Individuals (providers), and Non-Individuals (facilities).

hemisection

A Hemisection (literally “dividing in two”) is a procedure that involves cutting a tooth with two roots in half. It’s typically performed when decay or bone loss begins to occur in teeth.

high noble alloys

A mixture of two or more metals containing at least 40%. In addition it must contain at least 60% of a combination of gold and platinum, palladum, osmium, iridium, ruthenium, or rhodium.

histopathology

Histopathology – Histopathology refers to the practice of examining tissues on a microscopic level to examine for pathologies or other irregularities and disease. It would apply in reference to biopsies or other sampling.

hold harmless clause

Hold harmless clause – In any setting, a hold harmless clause refers to an agreement (written or verbal) between two or more parties to not hold any specified party or parties responsible for harm. It may be the case that a dentist would have a patient undergoing surgery or extensive work to sign a hold harmless clause.

hyperplastic

Hyperplastic is when the number of cells in a given object grow within a given object. This can lead to an enlarged organ or benign tumor.

immediate denture

An immediate denture is a denture, either complete or partial, that is placed in the patients mouth immediately following the extraction of any remaining teeth.

impacted tooth

An impacted tooth is a tooth that has failed to erupt through the gum and has grown improperly inside of the gum / jaw. This is a serious problem, and is usually only correctable via surgery.

implant

An implant is a term used medically to describe a non human object put inside a persons body to alter their appearance while looking like a natural body part.

implantation, tooth

A tooth implantation is a surgical procedure that implants a new tooth root into your jaw for the purpose of supporting an artificial replacement tooth or bridge. There are two types of tooth implantations: endosteal, which means a screw or blade is inserted into the jawbone, or subperiosteal, which is a metal framework that is placed over the jawbone and then protrudes through the gums.

inappropriate fee discounting practices

Intentionally engaging in practices which would force a dentist, who does not have a participating provider agreement, to accept discounted fees or be bound by the terms and conditions set forth in the participating provider contract.

incentive program

An incentive program would be for patients to get insurance rate or deductible breaks for various dental check up accomplishments. It could be for seeing he dentist a certain number of times in a year or for flawless check ups or other criteria.

incisal

Incisal is described as an area including the biting edges of the incisor and cuspid teeth.

incisal angle

The incisal angle is the angle formed by the junction of the surface of the mesial or distal when they come in contact. The incisal are the biting edges of the incisor and cuspid teeth.

incision and drainage

A dental infection that leads to oral swelling requires ‘incision and drainage’, the act of cutting and releasing infectious fluids. If left untreated, these infections travel quickly through surrounding tissue and may even be fatal.

incisor

Incisors are teeth towards the front of the mouth used to initially bite food.

indemnity planfee-for-service

An indemnity plan is an insurance plan that allows a patient to visit any doctor they like and no referrals are required. Typically, a patient will have to pay for dental services and submit claims for reimbursement under an indemnity plan.

indigent

Those individuals whose income falls below the poverty line as defined by the federal Office of Management and Budget.

indirect pulp cap

An indirect pulp cap is a procedure to prevent an exposed tooth pulp from becoming inflammed due to exposure. It is a type of sedative placed on top of a thin layer of dentin.

indirect restoration

Dental restoration is a technique of fabricating the restoration outside of the mouth using the dental impressions of the prepared tooth. They are then placed directly in the tooth.

individual practice association (ipa)

An association of independent doctors or others that contracts with individual doctors to offer services on a discounted basis. Examples would be an HMO or managed care plan.

inlay

An inlay is a filling that is fitted on a tooth with a cavity. The inlay is made by creating a mold of the tooth impression and then cementing it into place over the tooth. Inlay’s can be gold, silver or porcelain.

insurer

Insurer – An insurer is someone who provides insurance to another party. The insurance can cover a variety of items, costs or procedures, for any various amount of money — all depending upon the agreement between the two parties. Specifically in the field of dentistry, many patients will carry dental insurance, which they purchase from an insurer. Similarly, dentists themselves and their practices will engage with an insurer for a variety of insurances against their practice and estate.

intentional reimplantation

Intentional reimplantation is the removal of a tooth to conduct root canal therapy outside the patient’s mouth and remedy apical lesions, when present, through curettage. The tooth is then placed back inside the socket. It is normally considered a last resort because the tooth could be damaged during removal.

interim prosthesis

An interim prosthesis is any sort of temporary prosthetic. It is not designed for long term use, and is generally replaced as soon as possible by a permanent prosthesis.

international classification of diseases (icd)

International Classification of Diseases are codes that have been used in all types of medicine for years. Mainly in charts and by doctors and dentist as a type of short hand. More recently these are used on Insurance claims as billing codes for health insurance companies.

interproximal

This term refers to the spaces that are in between teeth. The gum will be between theses teeth. An orthodontist can correct this problem. They can do this by making you teeth narrower.

intracoronal

Intracoronal refers to the interior of the tooth crown. Dental amalgams are intracoronal, as are partial dentures that fit inside of a remaining tooth or teeth.

intraoral

Intraoral refers to the inside of the mouth. In dentistry, intraoral cameras are used to show patients images of the inside of their mouths so that they can see the problem spots their dentist is discussing to them.

intravenous sedation

IV sedation puts the patient into a state of deep relaxation and a feeling of not being bothered by what’s going on. This type of sedation produces either partial or full memory loss from the time that it kicks in until the time that it wears off.

isa

ISO is the International Organization for Standardization. It sets international standards for industrial and commercial industries.

jaw

Skeletal structure making up the upper and lower frame of the mouth and containing the teeth. Jaw can also be used to describe the part of the face that covers these structures.

keratin

Keratin is a fibrous structural protein and is the key structural material making up the outer layer of human skin and is a main component of hair and nail.

keratinized gingiva

Keratinized gingiva is one of two kinds of gingiva, or gum tissue, in the mouth. The keratinized gingiva is the gum tissue that surrounds the necks of the teeth. It is thick and protective, and not designed to be flexible.

labial

In a dentistry context, labial refers to the part of the teeth that faces the inside of the lip area of a persons face instead of the buccal area.

laminate veneer

Laminate Veneers are super thin layers of porcelain created to look like a tooth. They are placed and bonded over the front teeth and serve as a cover up for discolored and damaged teeth.

least expensive alternative treatment (leat)

The least expensive alternative treatment is a treatment that is designed to limit the out of pocket expense for a patient or the cost to the insurance company with limited dental coverage. Some insurance companies only have benefits for the least expensive alternative treatment, rather than their more expensive counterparts.

lesion

Open sore that can look like a laceration. Can be as small as a paper cut to 13 diameters with an unlimited length. Lesions can be found anywhere throughout the mouth, stomach , and intestinal track.

liability

Liability is a type of insurance that would protect a dental professional in the event of a malpractice claim. Most dentists carry professional liability insurance to protect themselves from financial loss in the event of a lawsuit or claim.

limitations exclusions

Anything that is not covered by one’s health plan for whatever reason the company has. Anything that is not covered must be paid out of pocket by the patient either before the procedure, or though a payment plan.

limited oral evaluation

A limited oral evaluation is an examination or exam by a dentist for someone who is not a patient for the purpose of screening them for oral cancer, or to evaluate minors or members of limited means populations for possible dental or oral diseases or problems.

line angle

In dentistry, a line angle refers to the area at which two surfaces of the crown of the tooth meet. It can also refer to the area at which two surfaces of a tooth cavity meet.

lingual

Lingual is an adjective that refers to the tongue. It can be used with other anatomical terms to describe location: for example, sublingual means under the tongue.

local anesthesia

Local anesthesia refers to an injection or application of an anesthetic drug that only affects a specific area of the body instead of the entire body like general anesthesia.

maintenance, periodontal

It is occasional teeth cleaning to make sure the teeth stay clean and healthy. It is often done 1-2 times a year. It is to prevent any tooth damage and possible loss

malignant

The word malignant in general refers to something that is infectious, virulent or malevolent. In the context of dentistry, it may refer to melanomas, lesions, neoplasts, etc. that are infectious, spreading or cancerous.

malocclusion

Malocclusion is a misalignment of top and bottom teeth when the mouth is closed. The teeth opposite each other don’t line up as they are supposed to. Malocclusion can most commonly be seen as an overbite or underbite.

managed care

Managed Care is term to describe a number of techniques to reduce the cost of healthcare and to increase the quality of care provided. Sometimes this will include monetary incentives for physicians and patients to select less costly options for care.

mandible

The mandible refers to the jaw or a jawbone. It is most commonly used when referring to the lower jawbone in mammals and fish.

mandibular canal

The mandibular canal is an opening inside of the mandible which contains the inferior alveolar nerve, artery, and vein. Generally speaking, the molars are the closest to this canal.

maryland bridge

A Maryland Bridge is defined as a permanent partial denture affixed to a retainer using resin as a bonding agent.

maxilla

The maxilla is the upper jaw bone, and is formed by two bones that fuse together during a child’s early development. Together, they form the upper palate and the upper jaw line.

maximum plan benefit

It is the maximum amount that an insurance company will pay for any medical attention and treatment done for a patient. It usually covers one calendar year and it varies depending on the insurance company.

medically necessary care

A service deemed necessary by a test of it being reasonable to prevent, diagnose cure or treat a condition in a a way that prevents it from becoming worse.

medicament

Medicament refers to any sort of substance used as a medicinal treatment. This would include injectable and oral medications, ointments, bandages, etc. Medicaments treat, cure, alleviate or prevent medical conditions.

mesial

Mesial refers to the middle line of the body or the surface of a tooth; closer to the center of the dental arch.

metals, classification of

The classification of metals in dentistry refers to the amount of alloys present in a particular metal, and the percentage of metal content. This also classifies metals by bio-compatibility, in order for dentists to better choose the metal that is best suited for the procedure and the patient.

methods of anxiety and pain control

The main forms of anxiety and pain control in dentistry are to use a topical to numb the area, a shot to numb the area, or the use of anesthesia on the patient.

microabrasion

Microabrasion is a techniques that utilizes a mixture of hydrochloric acid and pumice which is rubbed onto the surface of the tooth repetitively until the outer layers of the enamel containing the stains are abraded away.

microorganisms

Microorganisms are living cells that are naked to the regular eye. They are either beneficial or detrimental to the teeth and gums. They are typically found in the billions in numbers. An example is gingivitis.

minimal sedation

Minimal sedation is a type of sedation used by dentists to ease the comfort and anxiety level of the patient. It is drug-induced and affects only the cognitive and physical function of the patient, while leaving the breathing and cardiovascular function unaffected.

moderate sedation

A concious sedation to keep you relaxed and calm during any necessary procedure so you can follow any necessary direction during that time. The medication can be given as a pill, an inhaled form, or through a shot. The patient is still monitored during this situation to make sure they are safe.

molar

Molars are the most posterior tooth in mammals. It’s flat surface helps to grind food during chewing. Molar the name came from Latin word mola, means “millstone”.

moulage

A moulage is a mold or cast usually made of Plaster of Paris used for forensic evidence or investigations. For example, a cast of a footprint left at the scene of a crime, or a cast of a bite mark left on a victim. Moulage can also be the application of fake injuries to aid in emergency or first aid training.

mouthguard

It is a plastic guard put in the mouth to protect the teeth and gums during assorted sporting events, and can be used to protect the teeth at night for people who grind their teeth. They can be found in sporting goods stores, but can also be custom made by a person’s dentist.

mucous membrane

A membrane lining all body passages that communicate with the air, such as the respiratory and alimentary tracts, and having cells and associated glands that secrete mucus.

national provider identifier (npi)

It is a special number given to medical or healthcare providers and is issued as a HIPAA standard. It is a 10 digit number that providers must use in administrative and financial conducts.

necessary treatment

Necessary treatment is treatment that must be done or danger to other parts of mouth are imminent. Typically needed when abuse to mouth or negligence has taken place.

noble alloys

They are certain metals, like gold and palladium, that are used to help make crowns and fillings for teeth. There are other metals used like nickel, chromium, and beryllium; but it depends on who is making the crowns and fillings.

non-autogenous

Non-autogenous is a graft from a donor other than the patient. These may be grafts of bone, dentin, or tissues. Non-autogenous grafts are commonly used in cosmetic dentistry.

noncontributory program

A non-contributory program is individual or group insurance coverage that is paid for entirely by the sponsor (employer). If your workplace provides non-contributory dental coverage, you as the insured will not be responsible for any monthly premium costs that would be deducted from your paychecks.

non-covered charges

Non-covered charges are procedures that an individual’s insurance will not cover. It is important that a person understand what an insurance plan will and will not cover.

nonduplication of benefits

The secondary plan will not pay any benefits if the primary plan paid the same or more than what the secondary plan allows for that dentist is called non-duplicate of benefits.

non-intravenous conscious sedation

This procedure consists of the use of a syringe and needle to administer a drug that will numb the area when a procedure would create pain for the patient.

nonparticipating dentist

A nonparticipating dentist is a dentist that overviews the operation occurring, taking over in case of mistakes made my participating dentist if he either messes up or if it is a rookie dentist that needs watching over.

obstructive sleep apnea

A sleep disorder in which a narrowing of the throat or relaxation of the throat muscles cause a short-term blockage of the airway during sleep. This temporarily causes a person to stop breathing.

obturate

In general medicine, obturate means a blockage or obstruction. In dentistry, obturation refers to the process of sealing the exposed root of the jawline after a root canal.

obturator

A obturator is a prosthetic device used in the mouth to cover a hole or fistula in the mouth, such as in the roof. The device looks like a retainer, but does not include the wire for the teeth and is usually used for only a short period of time.

occlusal

It refers to the contact between teeth during chewing or during rest, when the mouth is closed. There is always a chance that there could be something wrong with the contact (such as an overbite or underbite) which can be corrected

occlusal radiograph

Occlusal radiograph refers to a specific view of an x-ray taken of the mouth. An x-ray is taken to view the teeth along the occlusal surface of the mouth.

occlusal surface

Occlusal surface is defined as the outer surface of the teeth which come into contact with the surface of other teeth when the jaw is closed or clenched.

occlusion

An occlusion or vascular occlusion occurs when a blood clot causes the blockage of a blood vessel. Although they can be dangerous, we can actually cause vascular occlusions to restrict the flow of blood to tumors, and much more.

odontogenic

Odontogenic defines the formation of teeth or how something forms because of where a tooth sits. Odontogenic can refer to an overbite or an underbite; as well as other issues with teeth formation.

odontogenic cyst

Closed sacs (cyst) that form around the jaw. These sacs are usually filled with fluid or a semi solid material and also form in clusters, more than just one sac (cyst). These cyst can resolve on their own but usually they need to be surgically removed and tested for cancers and other possible diseases.

odontoplasty

The process of remodeling or filling material or cast crowns and the removal of enamel from teeth is called odontoplasty. It enhances plaque control and gingival morphology. Here the natural teeth are shaped to correct crowded and smoothing minor roughs on teeth.

onlay

An onlay is a fabricated prosthetic made in a dental laboratory that fits inside and over a portion of a tooth, looking exactly like a natural tooth when completed. Onlay is used when a filling is going to be too large, causing the potential for fracture. Onlay can also be used if a patient does not want to replace a larger filling more often, as onlay is made with a more durable material and are bonded to the tooth for a long service life.

open enrollment

A period when those who have employer-sponsored insurance can make alterations to their current plan. This can only be done during open enrollment, unless you have a baby, get married, or other selected circumstances.

open panel

It is a type of dental insurance program where a dentist can act as a provider of services for members on the insurance plan. Many traditional insurance policies use an open panel feature.

open panel

A dental benefits plan characterized by three features: (1) any licensed dental professional may elect to participate, (2) the beneficiary may receive dental treatment from among all licensed dental professionals with the corresponding benefits payable to the beneficiary or the dental professional, and (3) the dental professional may accept or refuse any beneficiary.

open reduction

It is a surgery to help set a bone that does not want to set correctly through regular means. The first part of the surgery is to fix and set the bone correctly; then use any pins, screws or plates needed to keep it set in the right spot.

operculectomy

An operculectomy is a dental operation in which an inflamed or improperly-developed portion of the gumline is removed from the surface of an unerupted tooth.

operculum

The operculum is a lid or covering. In dental care, it is the covering of tissue which sits upon an erupted tooth. This tissue is chewed away over time as the tooth erupts.

oral

Anything that has to do with the mouth is considered oral. To take something orally would be to ingest it and any form of oral surgery is done to the mouth or teeth.

oral and maxillofacial pathologist

A doctor/dentist specializing in diseases of the mouth and surrounding part of the mouth. These dentists/doctors help with diagnosing any mouth or jaw problems sometimes by performing extensive medical procedures such as biopsies.

oral and maxillofacial pathology

Oral and maxillofacial pathology is a branch of dentistry that focuses on diseases of the oral and maxillofacial regions. It specifically looks at the causes, management, effects, and cures for these diseases.

oral and maxillofacial radiologist

It is a dentist who has a specialty in interpeting results from images that come from such sources like x-rays, MRIs and ultrasounds of the head and dental area. It is a specialty that requires two years of study.

oral and maxillofacial radiology

Oral and maxillofacial radiology is the dental specialty involving the use of diagnostic imaging on the mouth, jaw, and nearby areas. Imaging methods used include X-Rays, PET scans, MRIs, and ultrasound scans.

oral and maxillofacial surgeon

An oral and maxillofacial surgeon is a medical doctor who performs surgery to correct disease or injury to the head, neck, mouth or jaw. This includes both the hard and soft tissue of the mouth.

oral and maxillofacial surgery

This pertains to surgery that has anything to do with mouth surgery (oral) or surgery in the mouth region (such as jaw or the skin around mouth).

oral diagnosis

It is the term used to describe how the dentist interprets the results of checking your teeth and analysis of any objects from your teeth.

oral health literacy

Oral health literacy is the ability to process and understand the basic treatment options suggested or provided by the dental provider.

oral mucosa

It is the mucous membrane that lines the inside of a person’s mouth. There are many layers to the membrane and they serve different purposes. A person’s health can affect the whole mucosa and it can help a dentist see if there might be any underlying health problems in a patient.

orthodontic retainer

Orthodontic retainers are custom-made devices, usually made of wires or clear plastic, that hold teeth in position after surgery or any method of realigning teeth in a proper way.

orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics

Orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics is typically braces. An orthodontist is a dentist specialized in the use of applying braces and the movement of jaws. Dentofacial orthopedics is dentistry involved in putting objects into mouths to either fix problems or prevent problems from arising.

orthodontist

Orthodontists are dental specialists. The primary focus for an orthodontist is finding the cause for and treating dental displacement and malocclusions, which are improper bites.

orthognathic

Orthognathic is a type of dental surgery to correct the jaw alignment and occlusion to achieve a facial harmony. Orthognathic surgery can be performed for single or double jaw to re-position and to obtain a beautiful profile of jaw alignments.

orthognathic surgery

A procedure that uses oral implants to restructure tooth placement.

orthotic device

An orthotic device is a device that supports a weak or unstable joint or muscle, like a knee brace or a splint for a sprained finger. It helps stabilize the weakened joint or muscle to allow it to heal or to keep it from worsening.

osha

OSHA stands for Occupational Safety and Health Administration. It is a branch of the US Department of Labor responsible for establishing and enforcing safety and health standards in the workplace. It provides for the inspection of places of employment and the penalizing of employers who do not provide conditions that meet the established standards.

osseointegration

Osseointegration is the process in which a dental implant attaches directly into the bone cells on the jawline so that the implant is held in place more securely.

osteoplasty

osteoplasty is a category of surgery that uses surgical alteration or modification of the bone to eliminate pain. With this, it can improve mobility and make the bone stronger.

osteotomy

Osteotomy is usually performed during bone injuries. These surgical operation are used to correct the position of dislocated bones, broken or damaged bones. This surgical method is mostly used in all the parts of the body where bones are either damaged or collapsed. This method is mostly used in patients suffering from Osteoarthritis.

overbilling

Overbilling is the unethical practice of charging more than fair, necessary or common for a procedure or item. Concerns of overbilling are rampant in the health care industry, including dentistry.

overdenture

An overdenture is a partial or complete denture that is removable and sits on or over teeth already present, whether they be real or artificial teeth. This makes it unnecessary to remove the old or decayed teeth, which allows the patient to retain feeling in the teeth and prevents the jawbone from receding.

palate

The term palate is used to describe the area between someones mouth and the their nasal cavity. The palate is a very sensitive area, rich in blood vessels, and is believed by many to be responsible for causing so-called “brain-freezes” when the palate becomes too cold, such as when eating ice cream.

palliative

A general medical term that means relieving pain. It is not a cure all but a short term method of pain relief until proper permanent treatment can be obtained.

panoramic radiograph

A panoramic radiograph is a panoramic scanning dental X-ray of the upper and lower jaw. It shows a two-dimensional view of a half-circle from ear to ear. Panoramic radiography is a form of tomography.

parafunctional

The term parafunctional refers to a regular or habitual use of a body part to perform activities unrelated to the body part’s main function. For example, teeth grinding would be considered a parafunctional activity, as the main reason we possess teeth and a jaw is completely unrelated to our ability to grind them as a reaction to stress.

parenteral

Parenteral means not by way of the digestion tract. Rather than eating food and digesting it through the stomach and intestines, Parenteral nutrition can be administered through an IV into a vein thus feeding the body and foregoing the digestion tract. This is generally done when a person is sick and has trouble digesting food.

parotid glands

Parotid glands refer to the largest of the three major salivary glands. These glands are located in the front and below the ear and behind the jaw bone.

partial denture

A partial denture is a denture that is used for a patient missing a section of teeth, but unable to get a bridge. It replaces teeth for cosmetic or functional reasons, but is removable.

patient

A patient is the person receiving dental care services. This may be someone who has simply come in for a tooth cleaning or they may be receiving a more complicated treatment such as a cavity filling or root canal.

payer

A payer is someone obligated with the responsibility of taking care of the bill, or other financial duties, whether it be an individual or an institution or a company.

pediatric dentist

A pediatric dentist is a dentist who has specialized skills for providing dental services to young children, especially those under the age of 16. These dentists have a special personality to deal with young patients because they are often the first dentist that a child sees.

pediatric dentistry

Any dentist who specializes his or her dental care services to meet the needs of children, ranging from birth through adolescence, is a pediatric dentist.

pedodontist

A pedodontist is a dentist who specializes in the dental needs of children. They can provide routine care as well as treatment for cavities or other dental problems in a child.

peer review

Peer Review in the Dental system is referred to as a program that settles issues between dentists and patients. It can also include issues between insurance companies and dentists. A peer review brings someone in to oversee the issue with no obvious bias of the situation at hand.

pellicle

The device used in an extraction to give the dentist enough leverage to take out the tooth and keep the patient as comfortable as they can.

percentile

A percentile or a centile is a measure used in statistics indicating the value which is a given percentage of observations in a group of observations fall. For example, the 20th percentile is the value.

periapical

The periapical is the area around the base of a tooth under the gums near the root. It is considered the membrane around that area.

periapical cyst

A periapical cyst is an inflammatory growth in the mandible that is usually caused by the necrosis of a tooth that has been badly infected and not properly treated. It is usually treated with a root canal.

periapical radiograph

A periapical radiography is an x-ray technology used to provide information about the teeth and underlying bone. It shows the entire root and crown of the teeth which provides crucial information to aid in dental diagnosis.

periapical x-ray

An Inraoral X-Ray (taken with the X-Ray film in the mouth) showing the entire tooth structure, above and below the gum and including images of the surrounding teeth. Most commonly used to detect problems of the root and surrounding area.

pericoronal

Pericoronal refers to the crown area of the tooth.

periodic oral evaluation

A periodic oral evaluation is completed by a dentist to check the health or the teeth and oral tissue. This oral evaluation is usually completed on a semi-annual basis, however can be completed more frequently if problems are noted.

periodontal abscess

This refers to a collection of pus in the mouth. These are usually infections and occur in living tooth or in the gum tissue as well.

periodontal disease

Periodontal disease is a term used for a variety of diseases that occur along the periodontal tissues. It is often also referred to as gum disease. A common periodontal disease is gingivitis.

periodontal pocket

The extensions of the potential space between a tooth and the surrounding mucosal tissue that lies over the mandible and maxilla inside the mouth is called periodontal pocket. It indicates the depth of the gingival sulcus near the point at which the gingival tissue contacts the tooth.

periodontics

Periodontics is defined as the branch of dentistry that concentrates on the teeth themselves and any other supporting structures around them, including the gums and jaw bone.

periodontist

Offers oral care to those who require more extensive oral treatment or surgery oppose to general check ups and treatments that can be attained by the family dentist.

periodontist

A periodontist is a dentist that specializes in the treatment of periodontal disease, as well as the placement of dental implants. Oral inflammation is diagnosed and treated by periodontists.

periodontitis

Periodontitis is a disease of the gums. It is characterized by inflammation in the gum tissue and tissue around the teeth. It can cause damage to the gum tissue and weakening of the bones that support teeth. It can cause teeth to loosen or tooth loss. It is largely the result of poor oral hygiene.

periodontium

The term periodontium refers to the various tissues whose responsibility collectively as a group is to support the teeth, namely the gingiva, periodontal ligament, cementum and alveolar bone.

periradicular

Periradicular periodontitis refers to the acute or chronic inflamed lesion around the apex of a root of the tooth. This is caused by bacteria invading the pulp of the tooth.

permanent dentition

Permanent Dentition are also known as permanent teeth or adult teeth. These teeth come in after you lose your baby teeth also known as your primary teeth. These teeth you will have the rest of your life so keeping them healthy is very important.

permanent dentition (adult dentition)

They are the adult teeth that show up after the loss of all baby teeth. There are 32 teeth for every person, and the adult teeth start to show up at age 6 on average. The molars are usually the first to arrive, the wisdom teeth last.

pin

Pin is a slender, elongated piece of metal used for securing fixation of parts. Known as a peg for fixing the crown root of a tooth.

plaque

Plaque is a nasty build up on teeth that is created by bacteria attaching itself to your tooth. Plaque is one of the main causes of cavities, tooth decay and gum disease.

point of service

Point of Service is a type of insurance plan. It is a combination of HMO and PPO plan in which patients are required to choose a primary or point of service dentist from a network. There can be referrals outside of the POS, but services may be limited.

pontic

A pontic is an artificial tooth, or the part of a partial denture or dental bridge that fills in where the original tooth was. It does not include the fitting or the part of the partial denture that holds it in place. It is only the actual artificial tooth, or the part that substitutes for the missing tooth.

porcelain/ceramic

Dental porcelain or ceramic is a substance used to create lifelike and sturdy replacement teeth in the form of dentures, crowns, bridges and veneers. These low maintenance substances are widely used in the dental industry.

post

A thick and metallic shaft that is implanted in a person’s tooth during a dental procedure such as a root canal to ensure the strength and health of a tooth that is treated.

posterior

Similar in definition as when used in other anatomical terms, “posterior” teeth refer to those teeth located in the rear of the mouth. Including the molar and premolar teeth.

preauthorization

This pertains to insurance authorization prior to a medical procedure or test in order to receive payment from the insurance company once the test has been completed and services are billed.

preauthorization

Preauthorization is when a dental office sends a list of procedures that will be conducted to a patient’s insurer. The insurer will then review the procedures to determine if they are covered under the patient’s plan and send cost estimates back to the office.

precision attachment

Precision attachments are the mechanical parts of partial dentures. They are removable and can be made of plastic, metal or both. Precision attachments aid in denture comfort as well as easing the removal of the dentures.

predetermination

Predetermination is an estimation of cost association with one’s dental care and procedures. Dentist offices usually do this estimation when a patient is having several procedures done within a certain time frame. This gives the patient an idea of payment required at a certain time.

predominantly base alloys

The process of combining two or more agents having different properties that do not exist in any of the single constituent elements.

pre-existing condition

A pre-existing condition was a medical term used to describe a person who had a health problem before purchasing insurance. It was used to deny coverage if they were in that category.

preferred provider organization (ppo)

In regards to health insurance, a group of doctors that have agreed to provide services at a low cost. Those who have a PPO type insurance can choose from the doctors that are in the group to receive coverage.

prefiling of fees

Prefiling of fees is when a dentist submits their fees in advance of providing service to a large corporation in order to establish the dentist.

premedication

A drug treatment given to a patient before a surgical or invasive medical procedure is called premedication. These drugs are typically sedative.

prepaid dental plan

A prepaid dental plan involves selecting a predetermined list of services from one single dental provider for a set period of time. Services outside of the predetermined list are an additional charge. An example would paying $100 for four cleanings over a one year period.

preventive dentistry

Preventative dentistry is dental work that is performed in order to keep the teeth and gums healthy for both the present and foreseeable future. This would include routine cleanings, fluoride treatments, and other work meant to keep the mouth healthy, and stop future problems from occurring.

primary payer

The primary payer is the insurance policy that would be responsible for covering the claim first. In the situation of an automobile accident, the auto insurance would be the primary payer and dental insurance would be secondary.

proof of loss

A proof of loss is showing that a surgery was done as a result of an accident or something that is a result of disease. Typically used in reference to insurance.

prophylaxis

This is when a dentist or the dental hygienist performs a cleaning of the teeth such as removing plaque so that the individual does not get mouth diseases such as gingivitis.

prospective review

A prospective review is the insurer examination of a medical procedure to make sure that it is approved and covered by a the particular insurance policy.

prosthesis

A prosthesis is an artifical implant used in a dental procedure. These implants are constructed of foreign material in a laboratory and implanted during a dental procedure.

prosthodontic retainer

A dental device used to maintain and assure the integrity of a region of the person’s teeth that has undergone a procedure such as a surgery or something like corrective braces.

prosthodontics

Prosthodontics is a branch of dentistry. The focus of this branch is designing and making fittings and artificial devices for dentures, artificial teeth, and replacement parts for the mouth or jaw.

prosthodontist

These are dentists that specialize specifically in replacing teeth or restoring teeth to it’s original (and sometimes better) state. They are more on the cosmetic side of dentristry.

provisional

A provisional is usually a short-term fix. Aiding in diagnosis, treatment planning and communication to the laboratory for the clinical success of definitive fixed restorations.

public health dentist

It is a non-clinical form of dentistry. It concentrates more on helping the dental and health needs of a bigger population instead of just individual people. There are some controversy with it, due to the florination of drinking water.

public health dentistry

Dental Public Health is the specially of dentistry that promotes oral health as well as the prevention and control of dental diseases. In 1951, the American Dental Association recognized dental pubic health as a specialty of dentistry.

pulp

A large mass of vascular tissue and cells held within a pulp chamber at the very center of a tooth, surrounded by dentin and then covered with enamel.

pulp cavity

The pulp cavity is the space in the tooth that contains the fibrovascular dental pulp. It also includes the root canal and the pulp chamber, and it is lined with odontoblasts, which is connective tissue cells that deposit dentin. The pulp cavity is the central, hollow part of the tooth.

pulpectomy

It it basically a root canal, where any infected pulp tissued is cleaned out and removed due to a cavity or a chipped/broken tooth. There is a version that only takes out the infected pulp, and one where it is all cleared out. Either way the tooth remains in the mouth.

pulpitis

Pulpitis is the inflammation of tooth pulp, the living part of tooth which has Nerves and Blood Vessels. The pulpitis can be caused by tooth decay that penetrated though the enamel and dentin layer of tooth, dental abbesses or a trauma from grinding, clenching, any injury or thermal irritation from numerous dental procedures.

pulpotomy

A pulpotomy is the dental procedure in which a portion of the soft interior of the tooth – the pulp – is removed and then a filling placed inside. This procedure enables the diseased portion of the tooth to be removed, thereby protecting the remaining healthy portion.

quadrant

Quadrant refers to segments of the mouth. There are 4 quadrants: upper right, upper left, lower right and lower left. These pertain to sections of teeth in a persons mouth.

radicular

Pertaining to, or involving, the root of a nerve. In the case of dentistry the root of a tooth. Can be used to describe pain coming from the root.

radiograph

A radiograph is an x-ray image, or a picture of the inside of a body. Radiographs use radiation to form the picture of internal structures. Radiographs are used in order to show a dentist the patient’s teeth with root systems.

radiographic/surgical implant index

A new procedure and technique used in implant surgery that helps in creating a template to predict a patient’s oral health in a more accurate and detailed way.

ranula

A ranula is a mucous-containing, dome-shaped swelling that usually occurs on the bottom of the mouth. It is often caused by trauma to the salivary glands.

recalcificationapexification

Recalcificationapexification is a procedure done in hopes of encouraging root repair of immature root defects. May include placement of an artificial barrier.

re-evaluation

A re-evaluation is an appointment to check a problem already treated and addressed with a current patient, normally to see if any changes are occurring as well as positive or negative evaluations of treatment.

reimbursement

It is to compensate someone for out of pocket expenses. It can be for anything that insurance does not cover, or for extra services. Some forms of reimbursement deal with paying back employees for buying supplies or for work trip expenses.

reimplantation, tooth

The replacement of a tooth that has been replaced at a previous point in time by recrafting a tooth and molding it to fit the person.

reinsurance

A type of insurance for third party payers to disperse their risk for losses (claims paid) normally over a specified dollar amount.

relative value system

The relative value system is the method by which the value of dental procedures is determined by considering the values multiple offices and doctors proscribe to a procedure.

reline

Any patient with dentures will occasionally need to have them adjusted due to the mouth adjusting on occasion. The dentist with do a casting of the denture area of the mouth, then use it to reline the dentures. After that is done, the dentures will fit better in the mouth.

removable appliance

It is any dental appliance like dentures, a partial, or a retainer. They are there to help replace missing teeth, or help keep them straight in the case of a retainer. They can be taken out when not needed and should be cleaned on a daily basis.

removable partial denture

An object for a partially toothless patient who desires to have replacement of the teeth for functional or aesthetic reasons and who cannot have a bridge.

removable prosthesis

A partial denture made so that it can readily be removed from the mouth.

residual root

The underlying part of the tooth that is embedded in the gum line where bacteria can grow causing pressure and pain in a patients mouth.

resin, acrylic

Acrylic resin is a plastic substance derived from acrylic acid or methacrylic acid. Acrylic resin is used to make casts or molded parts in the dental field.

resorb

To resorb, is to break something down into its basic components, after which the components are circulated back into the bloodstream. Resorption can occur to many different types of tissue in many animals.

retail store dentistry

Retail store dentistry is a chain set up of dentists. Typically seen in larger malls/urban areas where a chain of dentists see you based on needs and not prescheduled appointments.

retainer

A retainer is a device used to help align teeth before braces are applied or after they are removed. They are typically constructed using plastic or wires.

retrograde filling

A retrograde filling is when the dentist places a filling at the top of the tooth root to fill a root canal. This is done to seal an infection.

retrospective review

It is to review the services that have taken place after the fact. This is an assessment after surgery, treatment, etc as to how well it was performed.

revision

Revision is a form of surgery. It is done to fix problems that occurred with a previous surgery. It can be used to eliminate scar tissue from a previous surgery, or it can be done to replace or compensate for a previous implant that did not take or did not work as expected.

risk pool

A risk pool when insurance companies come together to form pools to provide protection from catastrophes. Risk pooling is one of the underlying concepts of insurance its self.

risk pool

A risk pool is one of the forms of risk management mostly practiced by insurance companies. With riskk pool insurance companies come together to form a pool, which can provide protection to insurance companies against any kind of accident or disaster.

root

The part of your tooth that is connected under the gums. Although this part isn’t visible, it can be painful if a problem develops at the root. There are nerves and blood vessels in this area, making it easy to feel pain if something goes wrong.

root canal

Root canal- A root canal is a dental procedure that replaces infected pulp within a tooth with a substitute material to prevent further damage to the tooth and maintain its functionality.

root canal

The root canal is the space below the tooth. It is composed of the tooth’s pulp chamber, nerve endings, and may also contain pathways to the root canals of other teeth in the mandible.

root canal therapy

Root canal therapy refers to the treatment of the diseased or damaged areas of the tooth root.

root caries

Root caries is another name for tooth decay or cavity. Root caries is caused by the destruction of tooth material by lack of proper care or disease.

root planing

An effective treatment for severe gum disease, root planing usually involves a local anesthetic to numb the area before removing the plaque and calculus on the surface of the tooth root using curettes or ultrasound.

routes of administration

Routes of administration are the ways in which substances enter the body. For example, aspirin would usually have an oral route of administration. Many anesthetics, like propofol, would have an intravenous route of administration. Suboxone’s route of administration would be sublingually.

rubber dam

A rubber dam is a piece of equipment used to keep a tooth try during dental work and examination. It consists of a thin sheet of rubber which surrounds the tooth with minimal discomfort for the patient.

salivary gland

They are the group of glands found in the mouth area of every person. They produce saliva for the mouth and protect the mouth, gums and teeth from damage from dry mouth. They also contain an enzyme that helps break down some starches as well.

scaling

Scaling refers to the process by which a dentist performs a deep cleaning on the teeth, even extending to underneath the outermost edges of the gum itself. Local anesthetic is used during the procedure.

schedule of benefits

A schedule of benefits is when and what procedures can be done while working within your dental providers benefits. Typically including preventative cleanings and check ups.

sealant

Sealants are bonding agents used between substrates of different physical properties to form a seal between the materials. Dental sealants act as a barrier to prevent cavities.

second-opinion program

A second-opinion program is a service that some health insurance companies require. When a physician recommends an elective surgery, sometimes the health insurance provider will require the patient to get a second-opinion, or the opinion of a different physician that the patient has not been treated by, in order to reinforce the first physician’s opinion and financially cover the procedure.

sedative filling

A sedative filling is intended to be a temporary filling that is used mainly to alleviate the pain a damaged tooth can cause a patient. They are employed mostly when extensive work is needed to repair a tooth, but this work cannot be completed in a single session of operation.

self insurance

Self insurance is also defined as self-pay. A self insured patient is solely responsible for all costs of procedures incurred as an out of pocket expense.

self-funded plan

A self-funded plan is paid for by an employer. Claim costs are predicted by calculations, formulas, and equations. These costs are divided into monthly costs per employee. An employer assumes full risk in a self-funded plan.

semi-precision attachment

A semi-precision attachment is a type of dental device with two main parts. One part is attached to a tooth or implant that’s used to provide support. The other part is merged into a prosthesis, which can be fixed or removable, in order to make it more stable.

sextant

A sextant is an instrument used to determine the distance and angle between two objects. It can be used for many purposes and in dentistry is used for determining teeth alignment.

sialodochoplasty

It is a surgery to repair any damage or defect to the salivary duct. It often requires a small piece of plastic to help open up and repair the damaged duct. It can also help remove any small stones that are blocking the duct as well.

sialography

Sialography is an x-ray of the salivary ducts and glands. The patient’s salivary gland is injected with a contrast material before x-rays are taken. Sialography can be used as a diagnostic tool to identify abnormalities.

sialolithotomy

The surgical incision of a salivary gland or duct in order to remove a calcium stone (calculus), usually performed under a local anesthetic.

site

Site is where the infection or cavity has taken place. The site of a tooth has individual numbers and sometimes letters to identify where it is in the mouth to other hygienists or dentists.

space maintainer

A space maintainer is a device that keeps the space in between teeth, when the space closed due to premature loss of teeth. There are many different varieties. They can be fixed (stay in place) or removable, they can be unilateral (for one side of the mouth) or bilateral (both sides of the mouth). They can also be placed on either the mandibular or maxillary arch. A space maintainer can be any combination of the aforementioned, for example, a mandibular unilateral removable space maintainer.

specification no. 3950

specification no. 3950- Specification no. 3950 is a model which dentists use to identify different areas of the mouth, as well as number teeth. Supernumary teeth are not currently included in this model.

splint

It is a stiff material to help keep an area straight after a broken bone has been set. It can be made of almost any material, and usually covers an area that isn’t able to be covered by a cast

statistically-based utilization review

A review system that looks at treatment procedures based on claims information submitted. The review should include information about the dental provider such as experience, demographics and location.

stomatitis

Any number of oral inflammation or ulcers affecting the membranes of either inside the mouth or on the lips. Can include cold sores, cankers and irritations caused by allergic reactions.

stop-loss

This is a type of plan that people can purchase that will help cover any dental costs that are not covered because there has been too many dental claims.

stress breaker

A stress breaker is a piece of equipment used in conjunction with dentures. More specifically, it is a device used to lessen the pressure on the teeth to which a partial denture is affixed.

study modeldiagnostic cast

A study model of a diagnostic cast is typically just an impression of the patient’s teeth and possibly surrounding tissue also known as the gums. This is used in diagnostics and even in the classrooms for teaching.

sublingual glands

Sublingual glands refer to the smallest salivary glands in the mouth. It accounts for less than 5 percent of the saliva accumulated in the mouth.

submandibular glands

They are the major salivary glands found beneath the floor of your mouth. While they weigh a mere 15 grams, they actually produce the majority of the saliva produced in your mouth. The superficial lobe composes most of the glands, with a smaller deep lobe beneath it.

succedaneous tooth

A succedaneous tooth is the permanent tooth that replaces the deciduous (or baby or primary) tooth. It is different from an accessional tooth, because an accessional tooth does not have a primary tooth it replaces. A succedaneous tooth must replace a deciduous tooth.

supernumerary teeth

Supernumerary teeth are extra teeth beyond what is typical. They are usually found in the mouth, but can erupt anywhere inside your head. They can be baby teeth or permanent. A person can have one or more supernumerary teeth and the condition is often hereditary.

suture

A suture is also referred to as a stitch. This is used to hold tissue together when needed to keep the tissue in place. It is typically used in closing parts of the gum when surgery is performed during dental procedures.

tax equity and fiscal responsibility act of 1982 (tefra)

TEFRA was a United States federal law that rescinded some of the effects of the Kemp-Roth Act passed the year before 1982, as result of ongoing recession fall in tax revenue generated over the budget deficit. In other words, it reduces budget gap through tax.

temporary removable denture

Temporary removal dentures are devices that dentists will use to replace missing teeth. They are not meant to be a permanent solution, but are often used in patients who cannot afford a higher cost option, or while the patient waits for a permanent fixture to be created.

temporomandibular (tmj)

This is the joint belonging to the lower jaw. It’s name comes from the bones that it is made of- the temporal bone in the head and the mandible which is the lower jaw.

temporomandibular joint dysfunction (tmd or tmjd):

Inflammation and pain due to malfunction of the joint that connects the jaw to the side of the skull. Symptoms include stiff jaw muscles, clicking in the jaw, and possible locking of the jaw.

termination date

The termination date or expiration date is the date your dental benefits expire and you must find another means to pay for dental work or reacquire your dental benefits in some way.

therapeutic

The term therapeutic refers to any treatment used to treat or heal a disease. It can include a treatment, therapy or drug designed to cure a condition or reduce the symptoms of the condition.

third-party

In medical billing, a third party would be considered the party beyond the patient (the first party) or the medical provider (the second party). This term is usually used to describe an insurance company.

third-party administrator (tpa)

An organization that takes care of different aspects of the benefits and procedures involved with a person’s or family’s insurance plan as well as certain variables in claims.

third-party payer

a person, business or organization that is financially responsible after the patient themselves (1st party) and the patients health coverage (2nd) pays their promised part of the acquired debt.

tissue conditioning

As a tooth is moved the tissue is capable of forming to the new position making the use of headgear/implants/retainers worthwhile.

titanium and titanium alloys

A combination of titanium and other chemical elements used for dental implants and casting because of their strength and durability.

tomography

It can refer to a certain type of CT scan that takes images through sections, a slice at a time. It is used to get a better view of a certain area during the scan.

tooth bounded space

A tooth bounded space is a space in a person’s mouth created by a missing tooth where there is one or more teeth still located on either side of the open space.

torus

This is a bone like growth that happens along the inside of the jaw right below the lower teeth close to the front of the mouth and near the tongue.

tracheotomy

An opening through the neck and trachea to open the airway of a patent in the event of choking or any other emergency need to assist a patient’s breathing.

transdermal

Transdermal is an administration route for ingredients to the skin in some way. More specifically, systemic distribution like patches referred to as ‘transdermal patches’ for delivering treatments of medicine and operational procedures like anesthetics, or common uses like acne treatments over the counter.

transitional

Transitional refers to temporary dentures that are intended for use during the healing period after teeth have been removed. They retain space in the jaw and allow it and the gums to heal before a permanent piece is installed.

transitional dentition

It is the state of going from baby teeth to adult teeth. The time period depends on each child, depending on how long it takes for the teeth to be shed and be replaced.

transmucosal

Transmucosal is defined as something entering across or through the mucous membranes. This could include a tube inserted through the nose or any other mucous membrane.

transosteal (transosseous)

Transostal refers to a type of dental implant which passes through the mandible through the use of metal posts. These help to prolong the life of the dental implant by making it more secure.

transseptal

Transseptal means passing through or between or across a septum. For example, transseptal fibers are fibers that run from the supraalveolar cementum of one tooth, through the attached gum tissue above the septum of the alveolar bone, and into the distal cementum of the next tooth.

treatment plan

A treatment plan is a plan of procedures, whether they are inpatient or outpatient in nature. Including medications and therapies that, together, are intended to alleviate or completely eradicate a medical condition or issue.

trismus

Trismus is the inability to open one’s mouth. It has a variety of causes, some of which are spasms in the jaw muscles, unusually short jaw muscles, or it could be a symptom of tetanus. It is sometimes referred to as “lockjaw,” especially when it is seen as a symptom of tetanus.

tuberosity

A tuberosity is defined as a large, round prominence on a bone. Specifically, it refers to the place of attachment for muscles or ligaments. In densistry, tuberosity usually refers to the maxillary tuberosity, a large, round prominence on the upper maxilla.

type 1 individual provider

Type 1 individual providers are health care providers who are individuals, including physicians, psychiatrists and all sole proprietors.

type 2 organization provider

It is an organization that gives health care services or supplies to hospitals, medical supply companies, etc. They are a group of providers, but formed by individuals. They are able to obtain NPIs.

unbundling of procedures

Individually separating a group of needed dental surgeries or upkeep that are typically done in a group to help quicken healing and convenience.

unerupted

Teeth that have not yet emerged from the gums are called unerupted. Unerupted teeth may be compacted or otherwise unable to emerge from the gums, such as when the jaw does not have enough room for the wisdom teeth to come in, or it may simply refer to teeth that have naturally not yet emerged from the gums, like the adult teeth in a child’s mouth.

unilateral

Unilateral means affecting or being on one side. In dentistry, this refers to a unilateral loss of teeth or tooth decay, meaning only occurring on one side of the mouth, or a unilateral denture, which is a replacement for teeth that are missing on one side of the mouth.

universal/national tooth numbering system

A system used in the United States that provides information on each tooth in someone’s mouth. Each tooth is numbered and with that number one can document any issues associated with that tooth. This system is also used in most schools in the United States as well.

upcode

Upcode is when a medical professional bills for higher services than the ones that were actually rendered. This is considered fraud and is usually done with Medicare.

usual fee

It is the amount of money that is required as a payment for a procedure such as a cleaning or an exam at the dentist’s office.

utilization management

A set of techniques used by or on behalf of purchasers of health care benefits to manage health care costs by influencing patient care decision-making through case-by-case assessments of the appropriateness of care prior to its provision.

utilization review, statistically based

A statistically based utilization review is a review of a dentist’s practice. It is based on the claims submitted for the practice, and looks at the application of those claims and distribution of procedures.

veneer

A veneer, in dentistry, is a thin material that is applied to the outside of the tooth. A veneer could be applied for aesthetic purposes or it could be placed on a tooth that needs additional protection.

vertical bitewing

A vertical bitewing is a small piece of material that is used to take radiographs of the teeth at an angle that allows the viewing of any existing overhangs, root caries, crowns, furcation, and bone loss. The film is placed vertically rather than horizontally to get a more complete view of the root.

vertical dimension

Vertical dimension is also known as occlusal vertical dimension. It denotes the superior-inferior relationship of the maxilla and the mandible when the teeth are situated in maximum intercuspation. It is usually seen in patients with teeth and it is usually caused when the patient grinds (bruxes) their teeth so aggressively.

vestibuloplasty

It is a dental surgery to modify the gums in a persons mouth. It is often done to help with any possible problems with dentures. Some procedures require some form of skin or bone graft to be done to help stabilize the denture area.

viral culture

A viral culture is a test to see if someone or something is infected with the virus. Cells are taken that can be infected with the virus and put with the virus, and if the cells show changes then the test is positive. An example is a throat culture for streptococcus, or strep throat.

waiting period

A waiting period is the period of time in which the insurance policy mandates one must wait to get coverage for certain procedures. The waiting period can vary from policy to policy.

wax pattern

A wax pattern is wax that his been formed around and on a tooth to make a cast for it that is used in casting. A wax pattern is used often when a cap or crown is needed to cover an existing tooth.

worker’s compensation

Workers can file for this and receive payment in the event they get hurt and are no longer able to work. The employee isn’t able to sue the company for negligence if they file for worker’s compensation.

xerostomia

xerostomia is when you have a dry mouth caused by a change in the composition of your saliva or when you do not produce it enough to keep your mouth moist.

x-ray

X-ray refers to a digital image of the internal composition of a part of the body. The image is produced by x-rays being passed through the object and being absorbed to different degrees by materials.

yeast

Yeast, in particular the species Candida albicans, is responsible for what is known as oral thrush. When yeast is overly abundant it creates visible plaques on the tongue, inner cheek, throat, roof of mouth, tonsils, and gums. The plaques resemble cottage cheese and mostly affects infants, denture wearers, and people with lowered immunity.

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