The A to Z at the dentist, by Artedental
CAD / CAM technology is not the latest saga of a video game, “elevación de seno” is not a breast augmentation operation and yes, dental implants are biocompatible.
If classic technicalities such as endodontics, periodontics or orthodontics already generated confusion among patients at a dental clinic, the irrepressible arrival of new technologies, such as 3D, to laboratories and dental centres has only complicated the communication between the patient and the dentist.
The interaction between the professionals of the clinics, accustomed to using these terms on a daily basis; and patients, who hear about them from someone they know but who do not pay too much attention unless they have to face one of these treatments or conditions, collides when explaining and understanding these procedures.
Aware of these difficulties, a group of professionals from the Artedental clinic (Puerto de la Cruz), which includes dentists, orthodontists, endodontists, hygienists, assistants and administrators, has created a brief selection with the terms that generate the most doubts among patients and they have defined them in a simple way for their understanding, without technicalities.
Abscess: accumulation of pus caused by a bacterial infection.
ATM and temporomandibular dysfunction: the temporomandibular joint joins the mandible and the base of the skull. When it does not work properly, it can cause a headache, annoying sounds or a jaw locked.
Whitening: techniques to make stained teeth appear whiter.
Bruxism: teeth grinding involuntarily, during sleep, for example.
CAD / CAM: acronym in English for Computer Aided Design and Computer Aided Manufacturing, the basis of digital dentistry. Programme that allows dentists to design restorations or orthodontic appliances for their subsequent manufacture and placement in the mouth of patients.
Load: moment in which the dentist adheres the tooth or artificial teeth to an implant.
Veneer: thin layer of resin, ceramic or porcelain that covers a front tooth to restore, strengthen or improve its appearance.
Ceramics: material used for inlays and crowns. They have the colour of the tooth, but they are a little more fragile than the resins.
Composite: synthetic resin used to restore teeth. It can include a mixture of plastic and fibreglass. It has an affordable price, it is tooth coloured and quite resistant.
Dentin: porous layer of the tooth that protects the nerve. If it is exposed, it can cause tooth sensitivity.
Diastema: Space between two teeth.
Sinus lift: The sinuses are a series of air-filled cavities that meet in the face and communicate with the nasal passages. When a tooth has been lost and the bone mass has been reduced, the procedure to increase bone volume consists of a complex surgical technique whereby a “side window” is opened to introduce bone graft and increase the volume of the bone.
Endodontics: part of the dentistry that deals with the treatment of the dental pulp (“the nerves”). During this treatment, the blood supply and nerves of a tooth are removed. Afterwards, the tooth is usually filled and sealed.
Splint: device to stabilise loose teeth.
Gingivitis: inflammation of the gums, usually accompanied by bleeding.
Halitosis: bad breath.
Hygienist: qualified dental professional to clean the teeth or take x-rays, among other tasks.
Dental implant: titanium support, and therefore biocompatible, positioned surgically below the gums, to replace the root of the tooth and on which an artificial tooth, bridge or denture is placed.
Laser: used in dentistry as a cutting instrument to replace the conventional scalpel. It causes less pain, practically no bleeding and reduced infection.
Malocclusion: incorrect alignment of the upper and lower teeth.
Orthodontics: area that diagnoses, prevents and treats the bad position of the teeth. It involves the use of dental appliances.
Nitrous oxide or laughing gas: sedation with the popular relaxing gas. The patient is awake but relaxed and sedated. The recovery is immediate and does not leave sequels.
Periodontics: the result of untreated gingivitis, characterised by swollen and sensitive gums that can destroy tissues and bone.
Dental prosthesis: substitute for natural teeth. It can be just a tooth, a bridge or the full arch.