A Dictionary of Dental Terms
The lowdown on some common dental-related terms from Susan E. Brackett, a spokesperson for the American College of Prosthodontists.
By Tula Karras
Lisa Romerein / Getty Images
- Bonding: A process in which tooth-colored material (usually plastic) is applied to teeth to fill in small cavities or to achieve subtle
- Bridge: A device that connects the space created by a missing tooth or teeth to the natural teeth on either side. To replace a missing
tooth, dentists place crowns on the teeth beside it so the new (fake) tooth can be properly joined to the other teeth. The
entire structure is called a bridge.
- Cap or Crown: A tooth-shaped cap slipped over a tooth that has had a number of fillings or is weakened and needs more support.
- Implant: Another device used to replace a missing tooth or teeth. First, a small titanium rod is anchored to the jawbone. The bone
bonds to the rod over the course of several weeks or months. Once the implant has healed, a permanent crown is installed.
And, no, you wont set off metal detectors.
- Prosthodontist: A dentist who specializes in replacing or restoring teeth.
- Veneers: Thin, tooth-colored shells (commonly made of porcelain) that are placed over the front part of the teeth, usually for cosmetic
reasons. Dentists shave off a part of each natural tooth to apply veneers, so getting them is a permanent decision. Veneers
will need to be replaced at least once over the course of a lifetime.