As with most professions, dentistry comes with its own terminology. An understanding of basic terms can be very helpful when you and I are discussing your oral and dental health. As your Leesburg dentist, I want to make sure you comprehend any course of treatment that is recommended. With this in mind, I’d like to define 7 common dental terms.
You may have had a cavity, but do you actually know what this is? A cavity, or dental caries, is an area of damage on the enamel surface of a tooth that can spread deeper to the dentin and even the pulp chamber. A cavity happens when bacterial acids create small holes in the enamel. A cavity is repaired with a tooth-colored filling.
This common dental therapy is performed when a cavity, penetrating crack or another type of injury damages the pulp chamber of a tooth. During a root canal, the infected pulp is removed. The area is cleaned and disinfected, filled with a biocompatible substance, and the tooth is sealed and prepped for a crown.
Fluoride is a natural mineral that has been proven to help strengthen teeth and thereby prevent cavities. Fluoride is commonly added to municipal drinking water to help reduce tooth decay. Fluoride treatments are available in our office.
A fixed dental bridge is a permanent replacement for one or more missing teeth. Crowns are mounted to the teeth on both sides of the gap in your smile. These crowns in turn support false teeth that make up the bridge. The crowns can also be supported by dental implants.
A dental implant is the most lifelike of all tooth replacement options. Titanium posts that are surgically embedded in your jawbone act like natural tooth roots, supporting the appropriate tooth restoration. Dental implants fully integrate with your natural bone structure, and they do not impact adjacent teeth as with a bridge.
Gingivitis is the initial phase of gum or periodontal disease. It is marked by gum tissue that is red and swollen and that may bleed when you brush and floss your teeth. Poor oral hygiene is often the cause of gingivitis. Twice a day brushing, daily flossing and regular checkups can prevent or reverse gingivitis. Left untreated, gingivitis can lead to periodontitis.
Periodontitis is the more advanced phase of gum disease. At this stage, gums and the supporting bone structure begin to pull away from teeth. The pockets that are formed become infected, which eventually leads to more tissue and bone damage. Left untreated, periodontitis can necessitate to tooth extraction.
If there are any other dental terms you’d like explained, I’ll be glad to help. Call your dentist in Leesburg for more information or to schedule an appointment.
Meet the Doctor
Dr. David Groy is a family dentist in Leesburg. He and his staff take care of smiles of all ages with preventive dentistry, cosmetic treatments and restorative care.