Dental Wellness

Oral health has a positive impact on your overall wellness. A key ingredient to oral health is personal hygiene and dental education. This page contains some tips and terminology to help better take care of your dental health.


Most adult tooth loss is due to periodontal (gum) disease. Therefore, in our office, your periodontal health is of the utmost importance. The long-term condition of your teeth and any restorative treatment depends on stable, healthy gums and supporting bone. Each patient’s periodontal diagnosis is unique and we believe strongly in the design and implementation of a program that will most effectively address those individuals’ needs.

Your first hygiene visit will usually consist of a periodontal history and evaluation in which the health and positioning of your gums are determined and recorded. This evaluation combined with your full mouth series of x-rays and other specific tests, provides us with the information necessary to make an accurate diagnosis. Also, at this visit, your home care habits will be assessed and discussed and modifications may be suggested. Finally, an initial prophy (cleaning) may be scheduled. Depending on the results of your periodontal evaluation and the amount of calculus (tarter) and stain accumulated, this may be the only hygiene appointment necessary. However, additional hygiene treatments or even a referral to a Periodontist (specialist in gum problems) may be required to get you healthy. A financial estimate will be given for these extended treatment plans.

Your doctor and hygienist will discuss your diagnosis; prognosis and periodontal treatment plan with you. They will make recommendations for the frequency of your subsequent hygiene maintenance visits. This may range from a two-month interval to even a year. Again, this is tailored to your individual needs and may be altered at future visits depending on your progress and current condition. It is important to make this next appointment before you leave in order to insure continuity of care.

If you have been diagnosed with periodontal disease, it is important for you to understand that for optimal care and your overall health, it will be essential for you to have on-going continuing care.

All these recommendations are made in order to help achieve your optimum periodontal health, so that you may enjoy your teeth for a lifetime. We realize that many of our patients are covered by insurance plans that place limitations on the amount and frequency of dental care. We, however, care most about YOU and our first consideration has to be what is best for you. We do, therefore, recommend treatment without regard to insurance coverage. Remember, insurance plans are only concerned about the bottom line and do not have your health as their priority. If this raises a financial concern for you, please advise us so that financial arrangements may be discussed before treatment is rendered.

We place great emphasis on prevention and our highly qualified staff takes pride in providing the best available care. We will gladly answer any questions you may have.

Dental Terminology

Perio Maintenance
Follows FM debridement or scaling
A prescription mouth rinse
Mesial (M)
Surface of the tooth towards the mid-line.
Occlusal (O)
Top/chewing surface of tooth/posterior teeth
Incisal (I)
Top of tooth- anterior teeth
Distal (D)
Surface of tooth away from mid-line
Buccal (B)
Facial side of the tooth — (Posterior)
Facial (F)
Facial side of the tooth — (Anterior)
Lingual (L)
Side of the tooth towards the tongue
Primary teeth
Baby teeth
Anterior teeth
Teeth towards the mid-line — Centrals Laterals Cuspids
Posterior teeth
Back teeth Molars Bicuspids
Soft white film on teeth caused by bacteria
Calcified Plaque
Perio charting
Charting pockets for perio disease
Amount of space a perio probe goes down between tooth & gum to measure bone loss
Periodontal Disease
Disease of the gums — resulting in bone loss & tooth loss.
Periodontics “Perio” Occationally refer out
Gums (Gingiva)
Inflammation of…I.E: Periodontitis / Gingivitis
Prosthodontics “Prostho” Never refer out
Replacing teeth with a prosthetic or fake one I.E: Crowns, Bridges, Partials, Dentures
Orthodontics “Ortho” Usually refer out
Straightening teeth Includes: Braces, Retainers minor tooth movement
Endodontics “Endo” Occationally refer out
End of the tooth Root canals
Roof of mouth
Temporal Mandibular Joint “TMJ”
Where the jaw meets your skull
How your teeth hit together — Class I Normal — Class II Overbite — Class III Underbite — Crossbite
Occlusal Guards / Night guards
A plastic cover made to fit over patients teeth to wear at night to prevent wear from grinding
Silver fillings — these can contain mercury
Tooth colored fillings; some insurance will only cover amalgams
“Caps” Covers entire tooth
PFM (Crown)
Porcelain fused to hi-Noble metal crown; tooth colored; used 90% of crowns — (Lab)
FGC (Crown)
Full Gold Crown; crown made out of gold — (Lab)
Like a mini crown but goes in like a filling — (Lab) inlay diagram
Small crown that doesn’t cover the entire tooth. — CUSPS involved. — (Lab) onlay diagram
Post & Core “P&C”
A post is put into the RCT tooth
(Crown) Build-Up
Building up a tooth which is broken down so it can have a crown
Root Canal Therapy “RCT”
Cleaning out the pulp and replacing it with another Material. –We use ‘gutta percha’
Nerves and blood in the center of the tooth
Only molars & Bicuspids have CUSPs Tooth # 17 (upper-left) CUSP diagram
Back teeth — #’s 1, 2, 3, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 30, 31, & 32
3rd Molars
Wisdom teeth — #’s 1, 16, 17, & 32
Bicuspid / pre-molar
8 bicuspids in the mouth. Posterior teeth between cuspids & molars. — #’s 4, 5, 12, 13, 20, 21, 28, & 29
Cuspid / Canine
Teeth between laterals & Bicuspids. Anterior teeth — #’s 6, 11, 22, & 27
Teeth next to the centrals — #’s 7, 10, 23, & 26
Teeth next to the mid-line; front teeth — #’s 8, 9, 24, & 25
Routine Extraction
Erupted teeth that come out with no problem
Surgical Extraction
When a tooth has to be surgically extracted; Dr. uses hand piece and/or scalpel.
Plastic tooth covering on occlusal surface. Some insurances covers depending on age.
Surgical Extraction Soft Tissue Impacted
When part or all of the tooth is still under the gums when extraction
Surgical Extraction Partial Bony
Extracting a tooth which is impacted; part of the tooth is under the bone
Surgical Extraction Complete Bony — Always Refers Out
Completely under the bone
Replaces missing tooth by crowning teeth in either side of missing tooth; each tooth replaces is called a unit; 3 unit, 4 unit, etc..
Part of the bridge that replaces a missing tooth
Retainer (Bridge) — “Abutment”
Part of bridge which is crowned
Tip of the root
Cutting off the tip of the root surgically; this is done if a RCT is failing (Sometimes)
Covers entire palate or mandible
Immediate Denture
Extracts the teeth and denture is placed in the same appointment.
Partial Denture
Replaces several missing teeth & is removable
Maryland Bridge
A Pontic bonded to adjacent teeth by use of metal retainers.
A type of crown which only covers the incisal/facial part of Anteriors for esthetics
Incise & Drain “I&D”
When a tooth abscesses, we sometimes will have to drill a tiny hole into the gums thru the bone & into the abscess to drain.
Infected tooth
Temporary fake tooth which is removable to replace a missing tooth
Surgical implanted post which a crown is cemented onto.
Top of mouth Upper arch — Bottom of mouth Lower arch
Drill bits
tooth diagram