Cosmetic Dentistry Vocabulary

Aesthetics: Also esthetics. Having to do with a beautiful appearance. Refers to cosmetic dentistry.
Bite: Also called occlusion, refers to how upper and lower teeth and fit together.
Braces: Also called orthodontics or orthodontia, braces are generally composed of wires and brackets. They use tension to realign permanent teeth for better occlusion, esthetics, and/or spacing. Clear braces or aligners, such as Invisalign or Red, White, and Blue are now popular alternatives to traditional metal braces.
Composite Resin: Plastic dental filling or bonding material that contains with small glass or ceramic particles. Applied as liquid and cured with a light or chemical catalyst.
Cosmetic Dentistry: Also called esthetic or aesthetic dentistry. Procedures that correct imperfections in the appearance of a smile. Can include whitening, veneers, etc.
Crown: Portion of a tooth that extends above the gum line. Also refers to a lab-made restoration known as a cap. Also refers to the false tooth placed on a dental implant.
Dentition: Arrangement of teeth.
Enamel: White, hard tissue, outer layer of the portion of a tooth that extends above the gum line. Covers dentin.
Filling: Amalgam or composite resin material that replaces tooth decay.
Gingiva: Gum tissue.
Gingivectomy: Surgical removal (reduction) of gum tissue for esthetics or crown lengthening.
Impression: A soft mold of teeth and gums to use for fabricating prosthetics and restorations.
Inlay: Restoration made in a dental lab, then bonded into the area of a tooth between cusps. Larger and stronger than a filling, yet not as significant as a crown.
Instant Orthodontics: Application of veneers to correct the appearance of misaligned front teeth for cosmetic reasons.
Intraoral Camera: Small camera, usually on a "wand." Projects images from inside the mouth onto a monitor. Used for accurate diagnoses, patient education, records, and insurance claims.
Laminate: Lab-made porcelain or plastic veneer bonded to the front of a tooth.
Malocclusion: Misalignment of teeth that affects the bite, or how upper an lower teeth fit together.
Occlusion: Also called bite, refers to how upper and lower teeth and fit together.
Onlay: Restoration made in a dental lab, then bonded into one or more cusps of a tooth. Larger and stronger than a filling, yet not as significant as a crown.
Orthodontics: Dental specialty that deals with alignment of teeth.
Prosthesis: Also called a prosthetic, refers to a false tooth or appliance such as a bridge, denture, partial, or dental implant.
Smile Makeover: A treatment plan that includes various cosmetic and esthetic restorative procedures to improve the appearance of a smile.
Teeth Whitening: Bleaching teeth with chemicals. Can be done in one hour with a light or with trays worn daily for about two weeks.
Veneer: Cosmetic dental treatment that involves lab-made porcelain or plastic wafers bonded to front teeth to mask chips, cracks, misalignments, or other imperfections.

back to library