Definitions and Links

CEREC – stands for “ceramic reconstruction” and is also known as “same day crowns.” It is a digital method of creating crowns, implant-retained crowns, and bridges in one dental visit. No more sticky, goopy impression material or waiting two weeks for the permanent crown. Dr. Davis takes a digital impression of the area and designs your crown with precision on the computer. You leave our office with the permanent, natural looking, all-ceramic crown intact. Check out the video here: Cerec video and/or call us for more information.

Crown – a tooth-shaped cover, or cap, that is placed over a tooth. It used when a tooth is broken or if a cavity is too large to fill, or if the tooth was extracted and an implant has been surgically inserted in its place. The crown covers the tooth or implant and restores the strength as well as the look of the tooth. Traditionally the procedure for a crown would need two visits to the dentist, but Dr. Davis can do “same day” crowns in our office using the Cerac technology.

Dental Implant – a popular, effective, and healthier way to replace missing teeth. The implant itself is a titanium rod that acts as an artificial tooth root. The surgeon inserts the rod into the jaw bone under the gum line. When healed, the rod and jaw bone have fused together to provide a stable and long-lasting foundation for the replacement teeth. The dentist mounts a connector (abutment) onto the implant and then the replacement tooth (crown) or bridge are attached to the abutment. Implants provide a long-term, natural-looking, and stable solution to missing teeth. They are a great alternative to removable prosthetics.

Digital Panoramic X-ray – a two-dimensional x-ray of the entire mouth. It is the machine that rotates around your head. It does not require film to be inserted in the mouth as is done with a typical x-ray.  It is used in general practice to evaluate tooth positioning and impaction (usually wisdom teeth), the jaw bone, jaw disorders, cysts, tumors, and sinus issues. For more information, see: Panoramic X-Ray Info

Digital Radiographs – also known as “x-rays,” radiographs help the dentist evaluate and definitively diagnose many oral conditions and diseases that are not visible during a regular dental exam. Digital radiographs show such things as decay between teeth or under fillings or crowns, bone loss or damage, or teeth that have not yet come in. Our office uses digital x-rays, which on average reduce the radiation exposure by 60 – 90% compared to traditional film x-rays[i]. Digital is also faster and more environmentally friendly as the x-ray goes right to the computer – no film or chemicals.

Full Mouth Debridement – a procedure performed when the patient has heavy deposits of plaque and tartar on the teeth. It is a preliminary procedure used to clear these thick deposits off of the teeth so that the dentist is able to accurately check for decay, gum disease or infection. It is followed up a few weeks later by either a regular cleaning or a scaling and root planing, depending on the health of the gums and teeth.

Gingivitis – the initial stage of gum disease, it is an inflammation of the gums, characterized by redness, swelling and occasionally irritation. It can also cause bleeding when brushing or flossing, and it is a cause of bad breath. If not addressed promptly it can lead to much more serious gum disease, and eventual tooth loss caused by damage to the structures below the gumline. It is preventable and can be reversed if caught early. Brushing twice a day, flossing, and regular dental check-ups can help prevent gingivitis.

Intra-oral Camera – a very small digital camera that fits inside the mouth. The intraoral camera is used to take pictures of the inside of the mouth, so the doctor can show the patient if a tooth is cracked, decayed, or is experiencing signs of gum disease.

Invisalign – an alternative to traditional braces. Invisalign are clear plastic, custom-made aligner trays that are virtually invisible when worn. They come in a series of trays that you change out every two weeks for a determined amount of time. Each set of trays (upper and lower) gradually and gently shift your teeth to attain the desired results. There are no metal brackets and no wires to interfere with your natural smile.

Periodontitis – a serious gum infection that can lead to eventual tooth loss, heart attack, or stroke, and other serious health problems. It is usually preventable with brushing, flossing, and regular dental check-ups. The symptoms include swollen, red or purplish gums, tenderness, bad breath, bad taste in your mouth, and gums that pull away from your teeth. When the gums pull away from your teeth, pockets form between your teeth and gums. These pockets hold onto bad bacteria, which leads to more decay, tissue and supporting bone loss, and eventually loose teeth. If you experience any of these symptoms, seek treatment right away to prevent further damage and possibly reverse the damage if caught soon enough.

Factors that can affect your risk of developing periodontitis are poor oral health habits, tobacco use, drug use, poor nutrition, diabetes, hormones, age, and a compromised immune system caused by either disease or treatment such as chemotherapy.

Periodontal Maintenance – following scaling and root planing are these more frequent professional cleanings, usually every three or four months. The purpose is to maintain and/or improve the attachment of the gums to the teeth and to keep the periodontal disease from progressing. These frequent cleanings, as well as good home health care, are necessary to maintain a healthy mouth.

Plaque – a sticky film composed mainly of bacteria that interacts with the starches and sugar in food. If left without brushing and flossing, it can harden under your gumline and turn into tartar very quickly. It can do this in just two or three days without brushing and flossing. While the plaque is soft, brushing and flossing can remove it, but once the plaque hardens into tartar, it is like cement and only a professional cleaning can remove it. The longer plaque and tartar remain on your teeth, the more damage can be done.

Prophylaxis – also known as a “regular cleaning,” it is a procedure that removes light to medium build-up of plaque and tartar.

Scaling and Root Planing – a two-step procedure also known as a “deep cleaning.” The hygienist will first remove deposits of plaque and tartar/calculus above and below the gum line, being sure to clean out the deep “pockets” that have formed from the infected gums pulling away from the teeth. She will then scale or “smooth out” the roots of the teeth to help the gums reattach to the teeth. The attachment of gums to the teeth is critical to prevent tooth loss.

Tartar – also known as “calculus,” tartar is formed on teeth from the minerals in saliva and the plaque that has hardened. It has a consistency similar to cement and must be removed by a professional hygienist. Tartar that is not removed can lead to severe decay and gum disease.


[i] (60% less)

[i] (90% less)