The ABC OF Dentistry – Q – Z

We conclude our look at some dental terminology you may have heard but not understood

Dentist Dr Nabiha FarooqiWe hope that you have enjoyed the last 2 posts on this topic and found it useful. We know that we may sometimes use terms that you are unfamiliar with, especially when discussing treatment within the team.

This can be a little unnerving for some patients and would like to remind our Wickford patients that we are always happy to explain, should you wish to know.

In today’s blog, we end this series with a look at some dental terminology from Q through to Z.

Q – Quadrant – If you hear a dentist mention this at the Cygnet Dental Practice, it is simply referring to a section of your teeth. From the gap between the front teeth to the very back tooth equals one quadrant, so a filling on the upper right quadrant, for example, is simply an explanation of where the filling is.

R – Root canal – This procedure is often offered up as an example of extreme pain in everyday conversation, but fortunately this is not accurate. No one seems quite sure how this originated but it is thought to stem from pre x ray times when it would have been impossible to detect any abscesses that were present. A root canal procedure requires access via the top of the tooth so that the canals can be cleaned and filled before restoring the tooth with a dental crown. Whilst it is an invasive procedure, there is no reason why it should be any less comfortable than most others.

S – Saliva – We know that this is a widely understood term but is worth mentioning because of its importance to a healthy mouth. A healthy saliva flow not only helps to remove food particles that become trapped but also washes away some of the bacteria that can contribute to gum disease. Poor saliva flow, and especially a dry mouth, are prime conditions for the onset of gingivitis and other gum diseases.

T – Tooth straightening – As most of you will know, teeth are straightened using dental braces. These have become greatly refined over time with some, such as Invisalign, no longer using a wire and brackets approach. This method uses clear trays that sit over the teeth and offers a comfortable and discreet method of straightening your teeth.

U – Ultrasonic – This might sound like a term from a science fiction movie but is in fact used in a common procedure by the dental hygienist at your handy Wickford dentist. After removing excess tartar that has built up on the teeth and on the gumline, an ultrasonic tool is used that painlessly shatters most of the remaining tartar, helping to keep your teeth and gums in good health.

V – Veneers – Usually made from porcelain, dental veneers can be used for a number of problems. They are a popular option when teeth are so badly stained or discoloured that a teeth whitening treatment would have little effect. They are also excellent for teeth that have become chipped and cracked. Finally, in some cases they can be used to correct a diastema or some other minor orthodontic issues. In most cases, they replace the damaged front surface of the tooth, helping not only to improve the appearance but protect the tooth as well.

W – Wisdom teeth – So called because they generally come through at an age when a young adult is said to be wise. Although most people have no problem with them, these very back teeth can occasionally fail to erupt correctly. This can lead to infections in the area and the wisdom tooth may need to be extracted.

X – X-rays – These are routinely used in dental care to make sure that all is well with a tooth. Whilst our Wickford dentists can often detect decay etc from a visual exam, we don’t have the superhuman ability to see what is going on beneath the gum line! X-rays allow us to do this so that we can look for issues such as root canal infections and abscesses that may have occurred beneath the gum.

Y – Yellow teeth – Not really a dental term but a common problem that can spoil what would be an otherwise attractive smile. Yellowing teeth can occur because of smoking of course but is also just a reality of life. As we grow older, the dentin part of our teeth become darker and show through the translucent enamel layer. This can only be controlled by having your teeth whitened by one of our cosmetic dentists.

Z – Zygomatic – The zygomatic bone is commonly known as the cheekbone. It also has a little more relevancy to dentistry than ‘zebra’ which was about the only other thing we could think of 🙂

We hope that you have enjoyed this series and, of course, if you come across any dental terminology that you don’t understand, our friendly team will be able to help. If you wish to contact the Cygnet Dental Practice for an appointment, you can either call us on 01268 733078 or use the contact form on our website.