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Dental Dictionary

The ABCs of restoring teeth

When it comes to fixing teeth, there’s a bewildering collection of choices and techniques. Here’s an index of terms to help you understand what your dentist is talking about.

Restoration: Dental lingo for any material or device that replaces lost tooth structure and restores function. This includes fillings, crowns, bridges, dentures, etc.

Filling: A filling is a restoration that repairs part of a tooth. This includes amalgams, composites, inlays, onlays, and temporary fillings.


Crown: A restoration that restores the tooth crown. That’s the part of the tooth above the gum line.

Bridge: A restoration that replaces one or more teeth. Bridges cannot be removed.

Appliance: Dental office talk for restorations you can remove.

Denture: An appliance that replaces teeth. They are called “full dentures” when they replace all the upper or lower, and “partial” when they replace one or more teeth.

Cavity: You might think it means decay. In fact, it refers to what is left after the decay is removed. Basically – it’s the hole. Removing decay and enlarging the cavity are part of preparing a tooth for a filling.

Taking an impression: Dentists take an impression to create a plaster or dental stone model of a tooth or part of your jaw. The model can be used to make bridges, dentures, inlays, onlays and study models used for treatment diagnosis.

Dentists use all kinds of terms when they are trying to explain a procedure. If you hear one you don’t understand, ask for an explanation.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update
As our community slowly “opens up” on the other side of the pandemic, we’re nothing short of thrilled that we can provide much-needed dental care to you and your family.
Nothing is more important to us than protecting the health and safety of our patients, team members, and community. And to do so, we have put in place and conscientiously and systematically perform safety and sterilization protocols mandated and recommended by the CDC, OSHA, and our governing dental associations.
If you are a current patient who has missed your recare appointment due to distancing, please call us now to reschedule (if we haven’t already reached you). It’s important that your care is brought up to date as soon as possible.
If you are a new patient to us, we welcome you warmly and will fit you right in.
Thank you for your trust in us. We sincerely appreciate the privilege of serving you with excellent compassionate care.
If you have any questions, please call our practice at (630) 449-3079. We promise to answer your questions clearly and honestly.
We’re here to help you and can’t wait to see your smile!