• 20 MAR 18
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    Dental Lingo: Dental Terms You Need to Know

    Dental Lingo

    Not being familiar with the dental lingo can sometimes make a dental visit more stressful than it needs to be. At Evanson DDS, we strive to always keep our patients up-to-speed with each step of their dental visit.  Educating yourself beforehand on some common dental terms and conditions can help you feel more a part of your dental visit.  Consider the following common dental terms and definitions to stay ahead of the game!

    Gingivitis, Periodontal Disease and Periodontitis

    Known collectively as gum disease, the conditions known as gingivitis, periodontal disease and periodontitis are all characterized by chronic gum inflammation. According to eMedicineHealth, nearly 75 percent of American adults suffer from one stage of gum disease or another, and untreated gum disease is a major cause of adult tooth loss.

    Gingivitis is the mildest form, which can be treated and reversed with a thorough cleaning by your dentist and a resolution to take better care of your teeth. However, if left untreated, gingivitis may develop into periodontal disease, which begins to destroy bone and gum tissues that support your teeth. When periodontal disease is left untreated, it worsens into a condition called periodontitis. It’s in this stage of gum disease that tooth loss becomes a real threat.

    Crowns and Fillings

    These forms of dental restoration are used in different circumstances. A dental crown covers an entire tooth, which may be broken, worn, cracked or damaged from tooth decay. It mimics the look and function of a tooth while protecting what’s left of your real tooth.  A filling is merely a patch for a tooth that has been damaged by decay. The dentist removes the decayed tooth material and fills the cleaned-out cavity with a filling. This restores the tooth’s shape, function and appearance while helping to protect against further decay.

    Amalgam Fillings

    Also called silver fillings because of their metallic appearance, this mixture of silver, tin, mercury and copper is a popular type of dental filling. Amalgam fillings have been used for over 150 years.  Some people are concerned about the presence of mercury in amalgam fillings, but according to the FDA, the low level of mercury vapor associated with these types of fillings is safe for people ages 6 and older. No clinical studies have ever found a link between amalgam fillings and health problems.


    Also known simply as grinding or clenching your teeth when you sleep, bruxism can cause worn or loose teeth, receding gums, cheek irritation, jaw problems, and headaches. Diagnosing bruxism can be tricky since it only happens when you sleep, but wearing a custom night guard made especially for you can put a stop to this unintentional habit.


    A simpler name for this condition is chronic bad breath. Many factors can cause this problem, including eating certain foods, failing to take good care of your teeth, smoking, chewing tobacco and even grinding your teeth. Make brushing and flossing a priority and talk to Dr. Evanson for personalized tips if your halitosis doesn’t dissipate on its own.

    Veneers and Implants

    If you want to improve the appearance of your smile, dental veneers and implants are two options available from Evanson DDS. Veneers are thin coatings placed on the front of your teeth to correct the appearance of discolored, chipped or slightly crooked teeth.  Implants are designed to take the place of missing permanent teeth. They feature a small titanium screw that replaces the root portion of a natural tooth, giving it the stability it needs to permanently anchor the implant to your jaw bone. This solution is an option for replacing one or multiple missing teeth.


    A dental sealant is a protective coating applied to the biting surface of the molars. Dr. Evanson offers this dental service for children and teens whose teeth are most susceptible to tooth decay caused by bacteria and plaque settling in the tiny grooved surfaces of the molars. Sealants don’t replace the need for brushing and flossing, but they can make these preventative dental hygiene practices more effective.

    More Dental Lingo from the ADA

    The American Dental Association provides a comprehensive list you can reference for even more information on common dental lingo and terms. You can access that information here.  Understanding the terms that pertain to your oral health can help you better care for your smile and your overall health. Still looking for more information? You can find another glossary of dental terms from WebMD to help you on your dental journey!

    Call for a Consultation

    Now that you know the common dental lingo, it’s time to schedule your appointment! The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends that you visit your family dentist at least twice a year for a checkup and cleaning.  These dental checkups help to ensure the health of your teeth and gums while eliminating plaque buildup and the prevention of tooth decay.  Come test out your new knowledge and ensure your smile is as healthy as it can be! Call us at (720) 409-0008 to schedule an appointment.

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