Dental Terms Glossary
We understand that there's an entirely new vocabulary attached to the world of dentistry - some of which, if you've experienced good dental health, you may not have encountered before.
Below, you'll find some of the most commonly-asked about terms - but please don't hesitate to get in touch if there's anything else you're keen to understand.
An infection of a tooth, soft tissue, or bone.
A common filling material used to repair cavities. The material, sometimes called ‘silver fillings,’ contains mercury, silver, tin, copper and sometimes zinc.
Braces are the most common way to correct crooked teeth and can be fixed or removable. Nowadays treatment needn't be obvious.
A dental bridge essentially 'bridges the gap' in your teeth. To do this, your dentist will attached a new tooth to the two teeth that surround your gap. A dental bridge is a permanent solution for a missing tooth, meaning you can be free to enjoy the foods you love again, without concern for your missing tooth!
Composite resin filling
A tooth-coloured material made up of plastic and glass or ceramic, which is usually hardened with filtered light or a chemical catalyst. These are used as an alternative to silver amalgam fillings, and usually look more like your natural teeth.
Crowns sit on top of your original tooth. When damage has occurred, your dentist will remove the weakened part of the tooth and prepare it so it's equipped to hold the crown.
A dental treatment concerned with dental nerves and roots of the teeth. A root canal, for example, is an endodontic procedure.
Inflamed, swollen and reddish gums that bleed easily when touched or brushed. It is the start of possible periodontitis (gum disease) and tooth loss. This is usually reversible with good oral hygiene.
Gum disease is a common problem, where plaque builds up on your teeth. Plaque contain bacteria and as the bacteria increases it causes selling of the gums. This can lead to receding gums and the loss of supporting bone, which if left untreated, can result in weakened or even lost teeth.
A tooth that is partially or completely blocked from breaking through the gum as it grows. An impacted tooth may push other teeth together.
Lingual braces sit on the inside surface of your teeth. They're often called hidden braces, because their positioning means you can't see them from the outside.
Bupa Dental Essentials
Our Bupa Dental Essentials package provides patients with the Bupa services they need, at an affordable price. The purpose of this package is to make dental treatment more accessible when fully private treatment may not be suitable, and when it's not always possible for us to provide NHS care.
Oral and maxillofacial surgery
Surgical procedures on the mouth including extractions, removal of cysts or tumours, and repair of fractured jaws.
A dental field that uses devices such as braces and retainers to straighten misaligned or crooked teeth.
A dental specialist who treats diseases of the gums, bones and teeth.
A build-up of food particles, saliva and bacteria that forms on the teeth. Plaque left alone eventually turns in to tartar and causes disease of the mouth.
Root canal therapy
A procedure used to save a tooth with an abscess. What is called the pulp chamber (where the nerve lives) is cleaned and sealed with a permanent filling.
A retainer is a type of brace that's used to ensure your teeth remain straight once you've had a course of straightening treatment. They can be either fixed or removable.
If you have a chipped or stained tooth, a veneer is a viable option for rectifying it. Forming a thin layer over your tooth, veneers are made from porcelain to help them bond perfectly to its surface.