11 Dental Terms You Should Know

Before your next dentist visit, brush up on some terms your dental professionals may use. With the dental technology advancements that have been made in the last few decades, words may come up in conversation that you have not heard before.

Be ready for your discussions with your cosmetic dentist by brushing up on the 11 latest and most essential terms. Southern Illinois cosmetic dentists want your experience to be as trouble-free as possible. Learn a few more names and be an informed patient the next time you visit your dentist.

Dentist with a patient in a dental office.


Bonding is an adhesive dental restoration technique. Bonding is a procedure to adhere tooth-colored resin to the tooth’s surface, creating a bond. Bonding is performed by cosmetic dentists with a tooth-colored composite resin to repair or change the color or shape of a tooth. Resin is used for bonding due to its similarities to the enamel. The composite resin bonding process is where the adhesive is bonded to a tooth’s surface but then sculpted into shape, hardened, and polished.


DDS is short for “Doctor of Dental Surgery,” DDS is equivalent to DMD.


DMD is short for “Doctor of Medical Dentistry,” DMD is equivalent to DDS.


Veneers are plastic or porcelain bound directly to the face of a tooth by your dentist to improve your teeth’s appearance and fix your smile. Southern Illinois cosmetic dentists use special composite ultra-thin laminates or porcelain bonded to teeth. Typically, dentists use veneers for repairing worn, cracked, and chipped teeth.


An impression is a mold made of your dentist’s teeth and soft tissues to get an accurate model of your mouth before having a significant implant, bridge, or denture work done. Impressions are also taken to fit custom mouth guards properly.

Mouth Guard

A mouth guard or night guard is an acrylic appliance used to prevent wear and temporomandibular damage caused by grinding the teeth while sleeping.

Intraoral Camera

An intraoral camera is a small video camera your dentist uses to view and magnify oral conditions. With many intraoral cameras, images may be printed by your dental professionals.

Laughing Gas

Laughing gas, properly called Nitrous oxide, is an odorless inhaled anesthetic that produces relative analgesic (sedation), reduces anxiety, and creates a state of relaxation. Laughing gas is a general anesthetic used by gentle dentists to make your experience less traumatic if you experience dental fear and dental phobia.


A pit is a small defect in your tooth’s enamel. Cavities often appear where the four formative lobes of a developing tooth join.


An implant is a fixed dental appliance used for the replacement of a tooth by a dentist. An artificial device replacing tooth root is often made of titanium. The implant may anchor an artificial tooth, bridge, or denture.


A crown is a dental restoration performed by a dentist covering almost all of your natural teeth. Crowns are covers, caps, or replacements used to restore the missing part of a damaged tooth.


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