Dental Terms Simplified by Your Wake Forest Dentist

As your Wake Forest family dentist office, Robbie Smith DDS works hard to make sure you are always comfortable and at ease during a visit to our office. We strive to help you understand and grasp your dental healthcare plan, and what we are working on in your mouth. But, as is to be expected, we sometimes do get caught up in our own dental jargon without even realizing it!

Though we make every effort to speak in terms that our patients will understand, sometimes we slip up. To make up for it, we would like to help our Wake Forest dental patients translate our professional dental terms into everyday layman’s terms. Just a few of the fancy dental terms you may hear around our office, and what they mean, are below:

Common Dental Terms

  • Bicuspids and Cuspids. Cuspids are the teeth commonly referred to as the canine (or pointy) teeth, close to your front teeth. Bicuspids are the teeth directly behind the cuspids.
  • Bite-Wing. Bite wings are a decay detection device used during x-rays. Patients commonly bite down on them so that the x-ray will recognize any decay occurring on the tooth’s surface.
  • Diastema. While diastema may sound like a fancy, complicated term, it is simply a space between teeth.
  • Extraction is nothing more than a different way to say removal.
  • Impression. When we take an impression of a patient’s teeth, we are essentially making a mold of the teeth and the soft tissues surrounding them. This helps us fit patients for any devices, mouth guards, etc. It also helps us familiarize ourselves with a patient’s mouth.
  • Occlusion is how the upper and lower teeth line up upon closure of the mouth. It is another term for how a patient’s bite aligns.
  • Quadrants are the four sections of a patient’s mouth. From time to time you may hear us refer to a tooth in a particular quadrant. The quadrants are the upper left, upper right, lower left and lower right.
  • Radiograph is another term for an x-ray.
  • Recontouring is a cosmetic dentistry service that is used to reshape a tooth’s length, shape or surface.
  • Trauma is injury or damage to the tooth caused by external forces or poor tooth alignment

And this is just a start! There are many dental terms used to allow for quick, easy communication between dentists, hygienists and dental assistants. However, we understand that our Wake Forest patients want to be in the know when it comes to their dental health. If you ever have a question about any of the work we do here at Robbie Smith DDS, please do not hesitate to ask us! We are happy to help translate the “dental jargon” to answer any questions you may have. Call us today or fill out our appointment request form if you are in need of an appointment with Robbie Smith DDS!


This entry was posted in Dental, General.

Robbie Smith Patient Reviews

"Best dentist on the planet. She is a real pro. Everyone here is highly competent and super friendly. They make "going to the dentist" a non-stress event. I've been been going here for years and can't say enough good things about Dr. Smith and her staff." - - Wake Forest, NC
"Robbie, Jennifer, and Jillian are not only capable professionals, but warm individuals who care about the patient's comfort and experience. My whole family has switched over to this practice, and we all have found the same high level of quality service. Thank you, Dr. Robbie and Staff!" - - Wake Forest, NC
"Dr. Smith, Jennifer, and the rest of the staff are amazing! I am so thankful to have a great Dentist that cares about my dental experience and I recommend them to everyone. Having been in healthcare for 29 years, I have come to expect the best; Dr. Robbie Smith and her staff exceed my expectations!" - - Wake Forest, NC
"Very positive experience. I have been going to the same dentist for 28 years before moving to Wake Forest. Needless to say, I was not looking forward to the transition. My dental hygienist was particularly nice and thoughtfully went over with me what she was doing. It is a great environment and a very friendly staff." - - Wake Forest, NC