Glossary

3D X-ray

3D X-ray is a term for Cone Beam Computed Tomography which is commonly abbreviated as either Cone-beam CT or CBCT. The scan that this specialised equipment creates provides a three dimensional image of the patient that is extremely helpful to provide an accurate diagnosis and to plan dental implant treatment using specialised software.

Abutment

An implant abutment is used to attach the crown, bridge, or denture to the implant. Abutments can be made from a variety of material – Titanium, Zirconia, or other metals. Beware some practices do not include this in their pricing as it is essential.

Bone Grafting

A bone graft is used to recreate bone that has been lost. Some of the most common reasons for bone loss can include gum disease (gingivitis or periodontitis), loss of teeth and trauma.

Bridge

A bridge is a restoration which replaces a missing tooth by joining to two adjacent teeth or implants, i.e. bridging the gap created by the missing tooth. When missing a tooth, a patient is often offered a single tooth implant or a three-unit bridge (three crowns supported by the two adjacent teeth).

Bruxism

Excessive grinding or clenching of teeth during the day or night.

Cone Beam CT or CBCT

See 3D X-ray at the top of the page.

Crown

A crown is a “cap” which is tooth shaped and is placed over a tooth or implant abutment to restore its size and appearance. Crowns can be made from a variety of material including metals, porcelain and resin.

Denture

A denture or false teeth is an artificial device made to replace missing teeth. Dentures can incorporate implants to help with retention and or support and are either removable by the patient or attached.

Denture stabilisation

Dentures that incorporate implants to help with retention an or support and are either removable by the patient or fixed.

Edentulous

Having no teeth.

Gingiva

Your gums.  Also referred to as the soft tissue.

Gag-free (Digital) dentistry

Specialised intra-oral scanning equipment providing digital impressions; therefore eliminating the need for physical impression material which some patients find uncomfortable. A scanning camera is used to build a digital 3D image of the inside of the mouth, and is much faster and more comfortable.

Gum Augmentation (Periodontal grafting)

Are procedures dentists use to improve the health of the gum tissue and or to recreate gum tissue that has been lost.  Some of the most common reasons for loss of gum (recession) can include clenching and or grinding of teeth, poor oral hygiene, gum disease (periodontitis), loss of dexterity that prevents the patient from brushing effectively, and brushing too hard.

Healing Abutment

Sometimes referred to as a healing cap, this is placed on top of the implant to help the gums ie soft tissue heal in the correct shape after placement of the implant.

Implantologist

A dentist with a special interest in dental implants. The name infers a specialist qualification, but there is no official “speciality” of implantology in dentistry. Many dental schools now offer Postgraduate courses in implantology to MSc. or equivalent level, but the term technically means a special interest, rather than a qualification.

Intraoral

Inside the mouth.

Mandible

The lower jaw.

Maxilla

The upper jaw.

Mini dental implants

Also referred to as temporary or transitional dental implants.  These implants are much smaller than traditional endoseous dental implants. Mini implants are less than 3mm in diameter and have limited indications recommended uses. Typically, dentists do not use mini implants for final restorations but instead only use them for temporary dentures while the traditional dental implants are healing.

Molar

Molars are the larger teeth to the back of your mouth.

Occlusion

The contact between the biting or chewing surfaces of upper and lower teeth, also referred as a bite.

Oral Hygiene

The practice of keeping the mouth and teeth clean to prevent problems (i.e. brushing, flossing & regular “hygiene” visits to the dental practice).

Oral Surgeon

Oral & Maxillofacial (OMF) Surgeons specialise in the diagnosis and treatment of diseases affecting the mouth, jaws, face and neck. It is one of the accepted specialties in dentistry. In order to qualify as an Oral & Maxillofacial surgeon, a dentist will have to complete several years of postgraduate training.

Osseointegration

The term used for the natural process by which the bone also known as osseous tissue integrates or fuses with the implant.

Peri-implantitis

Peri-implantitis can be thought of as similar to periodontal disease around an implant, rather than a natural tooth. Untreated, this can lead to bone loss around the implant, and ultimately the implant may fail. As with your natural teeth, good oral hygiene and regular visits to the dentist or the hygenist are important.

Periodontal Disease, Periodontitis, and the Treatment of Periodontal Disease

Periodontal Disease (Periodontitis) is indicated by swollen gums around the teeth, bone loss around the teeth, and can result in the teeth becoming loose and possibly being lost.  During dental hygiene appointments, most clinicians measure the depth of the soft tissue “pocket” around each tooth to be sure there is not any bone loss occurring.  Treatment for periodontal disease may include one or multiple different treatments including scaling & root planing, grafting (see Gum Augmentation above), Laser treatment(s), and bone grafting.  The experienced team providing your care will advise you on the best plan for you based on your personal situation / diagnosis.  It is recommended that you have an examination & consult with your dentist if you have the symptoms of Periodontal Disease.

Periodontist

A Periodontist is a recognised specialist in dentistry, specialising in the prevention, treatment and diagnosis of periodontal disease. In order to qualify as a periodontist, a dentist undertakes a specialist post-graduate qualification in Periodontology. Many general dentists will perform many aspects of periodontolology, but will often refer the more complex work to the Periodontists in their area.

Prosthodontist

A Prosthodontist is a recognised specialist in dentistry, specialising in the retoration and replacement of teeth. In order to qualify as a Prosthodondist, a dentist will undergo several years of postraduate training in order to qualify as a Prosthodontist.

Regenerative

Refers to the use of grafting procedures to “regenerate” or recreate tissue that has been lost – either bone (hard tissue) or the gums (soft tissue).

Restoration

The structure that replaces the missing tooth or teeth. Examples of dental restorations are a Crown, Bridge, or Denture.

Same Day Teeth

This term indicates that a practice has invested in the equipment and training required to be able to provide a patient with their “teeth” on the day of implant placement surgery.  While the practice may have the training and may offer this as a potential, not every patient has the required bone volume and or bone density needed to successfully provide teeth on the same day as the surgery. Your specialist will advise you on the bone required for this procedure and what is present in your jaw. Although the procedure takes place in one day, there will be other appointments before and after to facilitate the planning of the process, and the final restoration.

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