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Glossary.

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Impression
Procedure in dentistry. By taking an impression a negative mold of the jaws is manufactured; subsequent filling with e.g. plaster results in a positive mold of the modeled area, thus in a duplicate of the mold. This duplicate is called "model".
Abrasion
Loss of tooth substance when teeth are exposed to friction, e.g. from opposing tooth structures, or due to an incorrect technique when cleaning, or as a result of grinding (bruxism).
Abutment (implant)
The term in dentistry for a connecting element between the implant anchored in the bone and the prosthetic construction that rests on the implant (superstructure).
Adhesive cementation
A method of bonding restorations in dentistry, particularly in the case of composite fillings and all-ceramic restorations such as crowns, veneers, etc. In this case, a low-viscosity acrylic (bonding agent) creates a bond between the tooth substance (enamel, dentin) and the corresponding filling material (often a composite).
Airflow
Measure in which dental plaque can be removed using a powderblaster, air-abrasive device. Airflow is not only an oral hygienic treatment in the field of professional tooth cleaning but also an esthetical method and can be compared to procedures such as bleaching.
Allergy patients
Patients with allergic reactions to certain materials such as metallic substances.
Aluminum oxide
Oxygen compound of the chemical element aluminum. Due to its excellent biocompatibility it is widely used in dentistry.
Alveolus
Also referred to as a tooth socket. This is a cavity in the jaw bone that holds the tooth and its roots. Together with the cementum, periodontal ligament and gingiva, the alveoli form part of the periodontium.
Amalgam
Alloy of mercury (40 % silver min., 32 % tin max., 30 % copper max., 5 % indium max., 3 % mercury max. and 2 % zinc max.). Mercury amalgam is widely used in dentistry as a tooth filling material. However, since its introduction its use is a highly controversial topic. Up to now, real damages caused by amalgam could however not be proven.
Amalgam sanitation
Removal of amalgam fillings and replacement by composite fillings or ceramic inlays.
Abutment tooth
Tooth that anchors a crown or bridge.
Apical
Term that refers to positioning at or towards the apex of the root.
Approximal
Term that refers to positioning towards or facing the adjacent tooth.
Articulator
Technical device used in dentistry to simulate the movement of the temporomandibular joint and contact points between the teeth. Essential aid in the fabrication of restorations.
Esthetic dentistry
Area of dentistry concerned with the appearance (esthetics) of teeth. The focus is not solely on maintaining a healthy masticatory system. Instead, esthetic goals are also pursued at the same time.
Bite splint
Acrylic splint for treating conditions of the masticatory system (e.g. bruxism, grinding). The goal of splint therapy is to eliminate adverse mechanical stress on the teeth and temporomandibular joints.
Augmentation
In dentistry, surgical extension of the jaw bone for corrective purposes, generally with a view to restoring lost osseous tissue as part of prosthetic and/or implant-based treatment.
Biocompatibility
Alternative term for biological tolerance with regard to exogenous substances.
Bite template
Aid used in determining and stabilizing the relative position of the lower jaw to the upper jaw (determination of the maxillomandibular relationship) in edentulous or partially edentulous patients.
Bleaching
Bleaching is a method to brighten human teeth for cosmetic and esthetical reasons.
Bridge
A bridge replaces missing teeth in the dentition. Two teeth act as a pillar and support the bridge.
Bruxism
Unconscious grinding or clenching of the teeth that generally takes place at night, but which can also occur during the day. It causes the tooth substance to wear down, and places excessive stress on the periodontium and temporomandibular joint. It can also result in damage to the masticatory muscles or to other muscle groups.
Buccal
In the cheek area, synonymous in the posterior area with vestibular.
CAD/CAM
CAD/CAM systems (CAD = computer aided design, CAM = computer aided manufacturing) are used in addition to the manual techniques of producing dental restorations. The computer produces a virtual copy of the tooth stump and then mills the final restoration from a blank (metal, ceramic or acrylic) with the aid of the data.
CEREC
CAD/CAM system manufactured by Sirona GmbH, Bensheim, Germany, for patient-specific all-ceramic restorations in just a single session. The system comprises a mobile PC with an integrated flat panel display. A 3D camera enables precise measurement of the tooth. The dentist then uses this data to construct a precision-fit filling or crown directly on-screen. In approximately ten minutes, a separate milling machine grinds the restoration from a ceramic block.
Overdenture
A special type of combined fixed-removable denture. Using telescopic crowns or bars for example, the removable part is secured to the remaining dentition, which is usually limited and generally exhibits periodontal damage. With overdentures, the pressure exerted during mastication is not borne by the remaining dentition. Instead, it is transferred via the denture base across the surface of the jaw mucosa.
Dental hygienist
Specially-trained dental assistant who performs certain medical duties for patients in the dental practice such as removing tartar, for example, as well as providing instruction on oral hygiene and preventive care.
Dental laboratory
Workshop in which dental technicians manufacture individual dental restorations such as crowns, bridges, dentures or fillings using manual techniques.
Dentine
Represents a large part of the tooth. In contrast to enamel, a lifelong neoformation through the process of biomineralization is possible.
Devitalized
Refers to a tooth in which the nerve of the tooth (pulp) is dead.
Diastema
In humans, the space between the inner incisors.
Digital shade determination
Determination of the tooth shade, e.g. for a filling or a crown, using a digital shade-taking device known as a spectrophotometer (e.g. VITA Easyshade).
Distal
Term that refers to positioning towards the end of the dental arch.
Inlay fillings
see inlay
Endodontics
The branch of dentistry mainly concerned with the treatment of diseases of the dental pulp, dentin or root tissue.
Balanced occlusion
Properly functioning and correctly formed masticatory system (dentition) that does not demonstrate any developmental impairments or other anomalies. The masticatory force is distributed evenly across the jaw.
Extraction
Removal of a tooth under local anesthetic using instrumentation specifically suited to the purpose.
Payment allowance
Flat rate payable per (treatment) case, i.e. regardless of the type and quantity of individual services actually rendered.
Shade determination
Precise selection and adaptation of the restoration to the characteristic shade of the natural teeth.
Feldspar ceramics
Dental ceramics with natural feldspar as base material.
Fixed dentures
All types of dentures that are finally fixed or cemented in the mouth.
Fissure sealing
Sealing of the then caries-free fissures which takes place shortly after the tooth eruption. Runny resin or composite materials are used to prevent the population by the oral flora.
Cantilever bridge
Bridge where one pontic is located outside of the supporting framework between the bridge abutments, and is not supported on the other side by a further pillar.
Filling
If a tooth is only partially damaged, e.g. by caries, normally a filling will be sufficient to restore the tooth and to retain a high proportion of natural tooth substance.
Filling material
According to the indication, the following common methods are used today: amalgam fillings, adhesive acrylic fillings (composite fillings), gold inlays as well as ceramic and acrylic inlays
Functional impression
Special impression of the edentulous jaw in motion, i.e. taking the movements of the muscles and mucosa into consideration as they occur when eating and speaking and in facial expressions. An impression of what is known as the functional ridge is of particular importance, as this is critical in ensuring that the subsequent prosthesis remains fixed securely in position.
Framework try-in
Try-in of a crown, bridge or partial denture framework in order to check the fit in the mouth.
Joint prosthesis
The joint technique is used if e.g. prostheses have to be fastened to crowned teeth. Individual joints provide perfect hold and ensure increased control when inserting the denture.
Gingival
Towards the gums, belonging to the gums.
Gingivitis
Acute or chronic inflammation of the gums (gingiva) and usually associated with plaque. It can as well be aggravated by other factors such as adverse mechanical stress on teeth.
Therapy and cost schedule
Detailed list itemizing the planned restoration measures. This must be submitted to the public health insurance provider before beginning treatment or, in the case of a private health insurance provider, in order to clarify the sum to be reimbursed.
Removable dentures
All types of dentures that are not finally fixed or cemented in the mouth and can be removed, e.g. for cleaning purposes.
Implants
Implants are artificial tooth roots made of titanium; increasingly, implants are made of ceramics.
Inlay
An inlay is an inlay filling, usually made from gold or ceramics.
Interdental brush
Appliance for cleaning the interdentium.
Interproximal space
The space between two adjacent teeth.
Interim prosthesis
Temporary prosthesis designed to fill the gap in the period until the final denture is incorporated, e.g. to help heal fresh extraction wounds.
Incisal
In the case of anterior teeth: term that refers to positioning towards the incisal edge, on the incisal edge, concerning the incisal edge.
Caries
Acute or chronic decay of the hard tooth substance (tooth decay). Caries (tooth decay) is caused by a chemical process which can be avoided if adequate oral hygiene is ensured.
Ceramics
In dentistry mostly non-metallic, inorganic materials that – due to their advantages such as tissue friendliness, natural appearance, high biocompatibility, shade stability, hardness, chemical resistance – serve as the basis for artificial teeth, tooth-colored dentures, fillings and implants.
Ceramic shoulder
Vestibular margin specific to metal-ceramic crowns that is fabricated from ceramic rather than metal. Its use requires the preparation of a ridge upon which the ceramic is directly seated and supported. By fitting crowns with a ceramic shoulder, the dark edge often noticeable at the gum line can be avoided.
Clasp denture
Removable, esthetically less sophisticated denture which is fixed at the remaining dentition by means of clasps acting as retaining and supporting elements.
Composite
Filling materials for the treatment by the dentist composed of an organic plastic matrix mixed with inorganic filler particles. Composite is mainly applied in the area of the anterior teeth (“white filling”). Today, composite is also used in the area of the posterior teeth, mostly with promising results.
Composite filling
Replaces lost or diseased tooth substance using tooth-colored composite. These fillings offer superior esthetics, and if fitted correctly, only dental professionals can distinguish them from the real thing.
Crown
Complete covering of a tooth for a severely damaged tooth with a substance which is still worth to be preserved.
Curvature/angulation
Distinguishing feature for determining whether a tooth belongs to the right or left half of the jaw.
Acrylic
Acrylic is a possible alternative for metal-free dental restorations. These materials are tooth-colored but may lead to intolerances and are less durable compared to other materials such as gold and ceramics.
Acrylic / prefabricated teeth
Industrially prefabricated teeth made from acrylic that are secured on a denture base through polymerization.
Labial
Term that refers to positioning in the lip area, synonymous in the anterior area with vestibular.
Alloys
Alloys are mixtures consisting of two or more components, at least one of which must be a metal.
Frenulum labii/frenulum buccae
These are organs in the mouth that should especially taken into account in partial and total prosthetics. As they are flexible, they can affect the fit of the prosthesis and should therefore be spared when manufacturing the denture.
Maryland bridge
Term used for a bridge which is glued to slightly milled anteriors. In certain cases, Maryland bridges can also be used as an alternative to the single tooth implant.
Mesial
Term that refers to positioning towards the center of the dental arch.
Allergic symptoms caused by metals
Certain metals can give rise to allergic symptoms such as headaches, arrhythmia, gastrointestinal disorders, constant tiredness, sleep disturbances or inflammatory responses of the mucus membranes.
Metals
In dentistry a distinction is made between non-precious alloys (amalgam, titanium, cobalt), alloys with a low precious metal content and high gold content alloys. Gold, palladium, platinum and silver are regarded as precious metals.
Porcelain-fused-to-metal crowns and bridges
Conventional crowns consist of a metal coping, which is veneered with ceramic for cosmetic reasons. After a while the gingiva may recede and the dark metal margin becomes visible. Metals may lead to incompatibility reactions (such as irritations, inflammations, etc.).
Primary teeth
The first milk teeth erupt at the age of 6 months but rather in the lower than the upper jaw. The primary dentition consists of 20 teeth. In contrast to the permanent dentition the small premolars and the wisdom teeth are not yet established.
Minimally-invasive restoration
A treatment concept in dentistry that aims to protect healthy tissue and tooth substance as far as possible. See for example non-prep veneers.
Model
Positive mold of the upper and lower jaw mainly made from plaster. Usually an impression of the jaw situation is taken by means of a suitable material: subsequently the impression is filled with plaster (cf. impression).
Model cast prosthesis
Cost-saving, but esthetically unsatisfactory removable partial prosthesis that consists of a cast metal framework and one or several acrylic saddles attached to it. These denture saddles are equipped with artificial teeth in order to restore the chewing capability. Usually the model cast prosthesis is attached to the remaining dentition through clasps serving as retaining and supporting elements.
Molar
Latin term for the posterior teeth in human dentition.
Non-prep veneer
Special type of veneer (ceramic shell) that does not require preparation of the tooth substance and that is indicated particularly in the case of esthetic corrections such as shade adjustment, axial rotation, etc. in young, healthy teeth.
Occlusal
In the case of posterior teeth/molars, a term that refers to positioning towards the occlusal (masticatory) surface.
Occlusion
Any contact between the upper and lower teeth.
Onlay
An onlay is a filling that additionally replaces dental cusps.
OPG
Dental X-ray method. Orthopantomogram (OPG) is a synonym for panoramic radiograph in Germany. Today it is the standard method of dental radiography allowing a diagnostically sound X-ray exposure comprising the entire upper and lower jaw of a human.
Optical impression (digital impression)
Instead of taking a conventional impression using an impression tray and impression material, the treated tooth is optically measured or scanned using a small camera. The data is transferred to a PC where it can be used for example for fabricating CAD/CAM restorations.
Oral
Belonging to the mouth; in the case of tooth surfaces: towards the interior surface, towards the mouth (see vestibular).
Overlay
In contrast to an onlay, this is a support or cupola filling that comprises the occlusal surface. The cusps are not covered but capped, i.e. they are equipped with an exterior grinding.
Palatinal
Referring to the palate
Periodontitis
Inflammation caused by bacteria that results in a largely irreversible destruction of the tooth-supporting tissue (paradentium). In contrast to gingivitis, a reduction of the bone can be verified through X-ray exposures.
Plaque
Deposit on the teeth, especially at hardly accessible areas. It consists of saliva, metabolites of bacteria, food residues and bacteria. Plaque is the prerequisite for the development of caries and periodontitis.
Preparation
Grinding and preparing the tooth to incorporate dental restorations such as inlays, crowns or bridges. Very important and responsible work which is carried out by the dentist.
Professional teeth cleaning
Mechanical cleaning of the teeth that far exceeds what patients can achieve themselves as part of their daily oral hygiene routine. An essential part of preventive care in dental medicine. See also preventive care.
Preventive care
Preventive measures carried out systematically with the aim of promoting healthy teeth and a healthy periodontium.
Prosthesis
Appliance for the replacement of teeth (full denture, partial denture).
Denture-supporting area
Areas of oral mucosa with underlying jaw bones that transmit the chewing forces striking on the prosthesis. The quality of the denture-supporting area is decisive for the good functionality of the denture.
Temporary denture
Temporary restoration of prepared teeth or tooth gaps as well as transitional prosthesis for the undisturbed healing of fresh extraction wounds before the final restoration is incorporated.
Pulp
The pulp of the teeth fills the cavity in crown and root or the roots of the tooth. It consists of connective tissue, blood vessels, nerves and lymphatic vessels.
Restoration
Synonym for denture that restores lost functions.
Enamel
Outer layer of the tooth. Covers the dentin in the tooth crown area. The hardest tissue in the human body.
Pivot tooth
Dental restoration that is integrated into the tooth root as a compensation for substance lost during a root treatment. Designed to stabilize the tooth and give the crown enough retention by building a stump shape.
Partial crown
Form of a crown made of metal, acrylics or ceramics that only partially covers the tooth (cf. onlay, overlay)
Telescopic crown
Type of double crown whose primary crown cemented in the mouth is equipped with parallel surfaces. Through friction force, the primary crown fastens the secondary crown – and thus the prosthesis attached to it –, in the mouth and in situ (cf. joint prosthesis).
Telescopic restoration
Claspless, removable denture that is fixed in the mouth using telescopic crowns.
Full denture
Full dentures with artificial teeth for the replacement of all 28 teeth of the upper and lower jaw which are held in a plastic. A suction effect ensures the hold of the denture to the jaw.
Veneer
Thin ceramic or acrylic facing bonded to the front tooth surface to perform cosmetic corrections.
Veneering composite
Tooth-colored acrylic material for veneering permanent and removable restorations, for example such as telescopic crowns, for the fabrication of temporaries, inlays and veneers, or for customizing acrylic teeth. Current veneering composites can no longer be compared with previous generations of veneering acrylics and offer distinct advantages over previous products.
Faced crown
Small metal cap that is covered by a tooth-colored veneering material (ceramics, acrylics) either in the visible area or completely thus providing the crown a natural appearance.
Vestibular
Towards the oral vestibule, towards the outside, and in the case of tooth surfaces a generic term for buccal or labial.
Cast crown
Crown that completely consists of metal (usually gold) and that is not veneered in tooth shade.
All-ceramic crown
Crown that is manufactured without a metal framework; it entirely consists of ceramics. In terms of esthetics and oral compatibility it represents the ideal crown type.
Complete denture
see Full denture
Wisdom tooth
The third molars. They develop only late and with most people erupt only in adulthood or not at all. As a rule, a human has four wisdom teeth, however, more or less than four teeth may exist.
Root canal
Cavity within the tooth root that supplies the tooth, contains nerves and is filled with pulp tissue.
Cementum
Part of the tooth that covers the dentine in the root area. It is part of the periodontic apparatus and consists of minerals, collagen fibers, cementocyts and water. The basic substance of the cementum is therefore similar to that of the fiber bone.
Structure of teeth
The natural tooth consists mainly of dentine. The pulp, or nerve of the tooth is situated in its interior. Enamel is considered to be the hardest substance in the human body and forms the visible, outer protective layer of the tooth.
Dental restorations
Prosthetical measure for the replacement of lost tooth substance. A distinction is made between removable dental restorations (partial dentures and full dentures) and fixed dental restorations (veneer, filling, partial crown, crown, bridge, implant). Fixed dental restorations are cemented.
Types of dental restorations
A distinction is made between removable dental restorations (partial dentures and full dentures) and fixed dental restorations (veneer, filling, partial crown, crown, bridge, implant). Fixed dental restorations are cemented.
Inflammation of the gums
see gingivitis
Gingival sulcus (periodontal pocket)
Space between root and gingiva surrounding the tooth like a trench and measuring 1 to 2 mms.
Cervical defect
Carious defect at the neck of the tooth.
Tooth crown
Upper part of a tooth that protrudes from the gingiva. It is covered by tooth enamel, the hardest substance found in the human body.
Dental pulp
see pulp
Tooth enamel
see enamel
Dental technology
In Germany, according to the Crafts and Trade Code, this is a recognized profession that requires training. Generally the training lasts for 3.5 years. Dental technicians manufacture dental restorations such as crowns, bridges, partial and full dentures, (“false teeth”), pivot teeth and orthodontic appliances (clasp brackets).
Cervical
Term that refers to positioning towards the tooth neck area.
Zirconium oxide
High-performance ceramics with outstanding properties in terms of tissue compatibility, stability, esthetics and long-term suitability. Above all it serves for the fabrication of tooth-colored, utterly stable framework materials for highly esthetic dentistry.
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