Glossary

 

Your first visit to Dr. Chapman's office promises to be a pleasant experience.  Many times patients are relieved to find out that their periodontal health is better than they thought it was!  Don't wait until it hurts.  The sooner you begin to get your mouth healthier, the better!  Gum disease frequently has no symtoms unless it is quite severe.

Making sound decisions about your dental care and oral health is an easy thing to do with the right preparation beforehand:

  • Make a list of questions to ask our office, so you don't forget anything on the day of your appointment. This includes any concerns you have, or oral problems you've been experiencing.

  • If you have dental insurance, remember to bring your insurance card with you.  Also, if your dentist has given you X-rays or a referral form, please bring them with you as well.

 

Periodontics is a dental specialty that involves the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of diseases of the supporting and surrounding tissues of the teeth or their substitutes and the maintenance of the health, function and esthetics of these structures and tissues.

Who is a periodontist?

A periodontist is a dentist who specializes in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of periodontal disease and in the placement of dental implants. A periodontist typically has had two to three years of additional training in diagnosing and treating gum disease and its associated problems. Periodontists are experts in the most successful techniques for diagnosing and treating periodontal disease. Additionally, periodontists can perform cosmetic periodontal procedures to improve your smile. Often, dentists refer their patients to a periodontist when their periodontal disease is advanced.

During your first visit, Dr. Chapman will review your medical and dental history, as well as any medications you may be taking. This will be followed by:

  • A complete oral and periodontal exam of your gums to check for gum bleeding and swelling, and gum recession; your jawbone, to help detect the breakdown of bone surrounding your teeth; and your teeth, to determine their proper alignment and if any are sensitive, loose and how they fit together when you bite.
  • An assessment of the depth of the spaces, known as periodontal pockets, between your teeth.
  • X-rays, to show the bone levels between your teeth to check for possible bone loss.
  • Once the exam is completed, Dr. Chapman will in most cases immediately discuss with you his diagnosis and recommendations for treatment. He will answer your questions and you will have a thorough understanding of what your situation is and what needs to be done for optimal health. 


Treatment choices include:

  • Root Planing and Scaling, which is one of the most effective ways to treat gum disease when it is caught in its early stage, before it has progressed to significant bone loss. This is a thorough cleaning and removal of the disease -causing deposits on your teeth called tartar and is done by a dental hygienist. 
  • Pocket Reduction Treatment  (PRT) is without a doubt the most successful and time tested treatment for moderate and advanced cases of periodontal disease available today!  PRT is so effective because it involves the complete removal of tartar and the recontouring of the bone that supports the teeth to bring it back to the healthy shape that it is supposed to have.   Pocket Reduction Treatment is very beneficial when pockets are 5mm or greater.  With PRT the diseased pockets are very predictably reduced by 50%!  This allows your toothbrush to keep the now healthy pockets clean and leads to long term periodontal health!
  • Bone Grafting/Bone Regeneration is a very valuable procedure done at the same time as Pocket Reduction Treatment where Dr. Chapman places a special material into indentations in the bone caused by periodontal disease that commonly occur next to teeth.  Bone grafting helps to re-build some of the bone that supports the teeth.
  • Soft Tissue Grafts including: Connective Tissue Grafts which help to cover up the exposed root surfaces of teeth and can be a cosmetic problem as well as cause sensitivity;  Free Gingival Grafts, which move healthy gum tissue from one part of the mouth to another, and Pedical Grafts, which shift gums to cover areas where healthy tissue is needed.
  • Implants  are the most natural, most functional, best looking replacements for lost teeth that dentistry has today!  Think of an implant as a man-made tooth root that your dentist places a crown (cap) on.  Alternatives include a bridge where your dentist drills down on the teeth next to a space and the bridge is glued onto those teeth replacing the lost tooth in between.  This can lead to tooth decay (cavities) on those teeth, and can also put too much pressure on those teeth in some cases leading to additional tooth loss.  Another option is a partial denture, an appliance that you take out at night and put back in in the morning.  Many patients find that partials are cumbersome and difficult to chew with, not to mention unsightly.
  • Ridge Preservation  is done to help decrease the natural loss of bone that will occur after a tooth has been extracted.  This is commonly done in an area where an implant is to be placed.
  • Ridge Augmentation may be recommended if the bone where an implant is to be placed is too narrow and needs to be widened.
  • Crown lengthening is the lowering of the gum around a tooth, most often done so that your dentist can gain access to a cavity or fracture below where the gumline was. 
  • Cosmetic surgery is done to help reveal a beautiful smile where patients have too much gum tissue covering their teeth giving the appearance of very small teeth.  This is a  simple procedure that can have a dramatic effect on a persons smile!
  • Frenectomy is another easy procedure where excess gum tissue is removed from between the upper two front teeth that may be causing a spece to exist.  This is usually requested by an orthodontist who is trying to straighten teeth and close gaps between them. 
  • Fiberotomy is the easiest of all procedures again done at the request of an orthodontist to assist in the long term maintenance of straighter teeth. 

  

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

A
Amalgam - Material made from mercury and other alloy mixtures used to restore a drilled portion of a tooth.
Anesthesia - Medications used to relieve pain.
Anterior teeth - Front teeth. Also called incisors and cuspids.
Arch - The upper or lower jaw.
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B
Baby bottle tooth decay - Caused by sugary substances in breast milk and some juices, which combine with saliva to form pools inside the baby's mouth.
Bicuspids -A premolar tooth; tooth with two cusps, which are pointed or rounded eminences on or near the masticating surface of a tooth.
Bitewings - X-rays that help a dentist diagnose cavities.
Bonding - Application of tooth-colored resin materials to the surface of the teeth.
Bridge - A prosthetic replacement of one or more missing teeth cemented or otherwise attached to the abutment teeth or implant replacements.
Bruxism - Teeth grinding.
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C
Calculus - A hard deposit of mineralized substance adhering to crowns and/or roots of teeth or prosthetic devices.
Canal - The narrow chamber inside the tooth's root.
Canines - Also called cuspids.
Canker sore - One that occurs on the delicate tissues inside your mouth. A canker sore is usually light-colored at its base and can have a red exterior border.
Caries - A commonly used term for tooth decay, or cavities.
Cold sore - Usually occurs on the outside of the mouth, usually on or near the nose or lips. A cold sore is contagious because it is caused by the herpes simplex virus, and it is usually painful and filled with fluid.
Composite filling - Tooth colored restorations, also known as resin fillings.
Composite resin - A tooth colored resin combined with silica or porcelain and used as a restoration material.
Contouring - The process of reshaping teeth.
Crown - An artificial tooth replacement that restores missing tooth structure by surrounding the remaining coronal tooth structure. It is also placed on a dental implant.
Cusps - The pointed parts on top of the back teeth's chewing surface.
Cuspids - Front teeth that typically have a protruding edge.
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D
Dentin - The tooth layer underneath the enamel.
Denture - A removable set of teeth.
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E
Endodontics - A form of dentistry that addresses problems affecting the tooth's root or nerve.
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F
Fluoride - A harmless over-exposure to fluoride resulting in tooth discoloration.
Fluorosis - A harmless over-exposure to fluoride and resulting sometimes in tooth discoloration.
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G
Gingiva - Another word for gum tissue.
Gingivitis - A minor disease of the gums caused by plaque.
Gum disease - An infection of the gum tissues. Also called periodontal disease.
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I
Impacted teeth - A condition in which a tooth fails to erupt or only partially erupts.
Implant - A permanent appliance used to replace a missing tooth.
Incisor - Front teeth with cutting edges; located in the center or on the sides near the front.
Inlay - An artificial filling made of various materials, including porcelain, resin, or gold.
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L
Laminate veneer - A shell that is bonded to the enamel of a front tooth. The shell is usually thin and made from porcelain resin.
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M
Malocclusion - Bad bite relationship.
Mandible - The lower jaw.
Maxilla - The upper jaw.
Molar - Usually the largest teeth, near the rear of the mouth. Molars have large chewing surfaces.
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N
Neuromuscular Dentistry - Addresses more than the aches and pains felt in and around the neck and head that are associated with your teeth and jaw.

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O
Onlay - A filling designed to protect the chewing surface of a tooth.
Orthodontics - A field of dentistry that deals with tooth and jaw alignment.
Overdenture - A non-fixed dental appliance applied to a small number of natural teeth or implants.
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P
Palate - Roof of the mouth.
Partial denture - A removable appliance that replaces missing teeth.
Pediatric Dentistry - A field of dentistry that deals with children’s teeth
Perio pocket - An opening formed by receding gums.
Periodontal disease - Infection of the gum tissues. Also called gum disease.
Periodontist - A dentist who treats diseases of the gums.
Permanent teeth - The teeth that erupt after primary teeth. Also called adult teeth.
Plaque - A sticky, colorless substance that covers the teeth after sleep or periods between brushing.
Posterior teeth - The bicuspids and molars. Also called the back teeth.
Primary teeth - A person's first set of teeth. Also called baby teeth or temporary teeth.
Prophylaxis - The act of cleaning the teeth.
Prosthodontics - The field of dentistry that deals with artificial dental appliances.
Pulp - The inner tissues of the tooth containing blood, nerves and connective tissue.
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R
Receding gum - A condition in which the gums separate from the tooth, allowing bacteria and other substances to attack the tooth's enamel and surrounding bone.
Resin filling - An artificial filling used to restore teeth. Also called a composite filling.
Root canal - A procedure in which a tooth's nerve is removed and an inner canal cleansed and later filled.
Root planing - Scraping or cleansing of teeth to remove heavy buildup of tartar below the gum line.
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S
Sealant - A synthetic material placed on the tooth's surface that protects the enamel and chewing surfaces.
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T
TMJ - Temporomandibular joint disorder. Health problems related to the jaw joint just in front of the ear.
Tarter - A hardened substance (also called calculus) that sticks to the tooth’s surface.
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V
Veneer - A laminate applied or bonded to the tooth.
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W
Whitening - A process that employs special bleaching agents for restoring the color of teeth.
Wisdom tooth - Third set of molars that erupt last in adolescence.
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