Preston Center
6020 Sherry Lane
Dallas, TX 75225
(214) 369-3206
Preston Center
6020 Sherry Lane, Dallas, TX 75225
(214) 369-3206

Dental Dictionary

We would like our website to be the ultimate source for your dentistry needs online. If you’re curious about a term that Dr. Kidwell or Dr. Albus mentioned during your appointment or that you’ve seen on the site, you look it up in our dental dictionary below. If you don’t see the definition that you were looking for, call us at 214-369-3206 so we can help you.

Amalgams

An amalgam is a mixture of silver and other metals that are used to fill cavities in teeth. Dr. Kidwell and Dr. Albus use almost exclusively composite resin or porcelain to fill teeth. These silver fillings are only replaced when needed and not for the sake of removing the silver or mercury.

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Bleaching

Bleaching (also called whitening) allows patients to safely lighten the color of their teeth. During a bleaching, a chemical solution is placed on the surface of your natural teeth to remove stains or other discolorations. If you have existing crowns or veneers, bleaching will not change their color. The effects of the bleaching are semi-permanent (only some of the color change is permanent) and patients need to maintain their smile for the best results. Dentists can use a variety of methods, frombleaching trays to laser light, to bleach your teeth.

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Bleaching Trays

A bleaching tray is a clear mouthpiece customized to your mouth that contains bleaching solution. Most dentists offer trays as a method to bleach your teeth at home. To use this method, Dr. Kidwell and Dr. Albus will take impressions of your upper and lower teeth to create the trays and then provide you with the bleach solution.

Many people prefer to use bleaching trays since they are convenient and easy to use. To achieve the best results, follow the dentists’ recommendations closely. In most cases, they will recommend that you wear the trays for an hour a day for about one week. You will notice the bleaching effects immediately. These trays can be used for years as needed to maintain a bright smile. For more information, see Bleaching.

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Bonded Bridge

A bonded bridge bonds a replacement tooth to natural, healthy teeth. In most cases, this is used to replace missing front teeth, although it can be used on back teeth. For more information, seeBridges.

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Bonding

Bonding (also called composite bonding) is a long-lasting, tooth-colored composite resin that is placed in a cavity or on the surface of the tooth. Dr. Kidwell and Dr. Albus use bonding to fill cavities, cover broken, sensitive, or open areas on a tooth, mask imperfections, such as discoloration, and change the size of your teeth.

In some situations, Dr. Kidwell and Dr. Albus may discuss dental bonding as an alternative to applying porcelain veneers. Bonding is quicker, more immediate, and less expensive than veneers, but it is not as durable or long-lasting.

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Bridges

A bridge is a set of composite teeth that are used to replace your missing natural teeth. When Dr. Kidwell or Dr. Albus apply a bridge, they place support crowns on healthy teeth on each side of the missing teeth and then anchor the bridge to those teeth. The result is a healthy looking smile without gaps.

While bridges help you have a beautiful smile, Dr. Kidwell and Dr. Albus may also recommend them to stabilize your bite, prevent gum disease, and keep your remaining teeth from drifting out of position. The dentists may also recommend applying a bonded bridge or a fixed bridge to replace missing teeth.

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Composite

A composite is a natural looking resin that is used in tooth-colored fillings and bonding. It is also used to apply porcelain crowns and veneers to your teeth.

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Crown Lengthening

Crown lengthening adjusts or moves the gum line to improve the appearance of a smile. Dr. Kidwell and Dr. Albus may suggest this procedure if you flash more gum than teeth when you smile or if your teeth look asymmetrical, too small, overly wide, or too short. It is sometimes called a gum liftor gum recontouring. Unlike a Gingivectomy (also called Gingivoplasty), the dentists may need to change the bone levels around the teeth in order to achieve the correct tissue height.

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Crowns

A crown is a tooth-shaped restoration that completely covers the natural tooth to just below the gum line. They strengthen teeth and Dr. Kidwell or Dr. Albus may recommend crowns if you have bite problems, cracks or fractures, or need to improve the appearance of a tooth. Before a crown can be applied, Dr. Kidwell and Dr. Albus will create an impression of the tooth in order to create the crown. Most crowns are porcelain, but they can also be constructed from composite or gold.

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Dental Implants

A dental implant is a titanium screw that is used as an artificial substitute for tooth roots to anchor a single crown, bridge, or denture in your mouth. The implant is restored by dentists like Dr. Kidwell and Dr. Albus who have extensive implant training. In most procedures, the implant is placed during one appointment and after it heals, the crown, bridge, or denture is applied. Since everyone is different, the dentists will need to evaluate your mouth to determine if an implant is right for you.

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Dentures

Removable dentures replace all of the teeth in the mouth. They depend on slight suction for stability, but can be anchored to implants for the best stability. When anchored or attached to implants, they are referred to as “overdentures” and are much more comfortable.

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Diastema

If you have a diastema and are interested in making it less noticeable, please set up a consultation with Dr. Kidwell and Dr. Albus to learn how porcelain veneers or bonding may correct the problem.

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Digital Radiography

Digital radiography enables the dentists to obtain images of the insides of your teeth. This system reduces the risk of radiation exposure by 90% compared to conventional x-rays and produces almost instant pictures.

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Empress®

Empress® is a brand of porcelain crown and veneer. Popularized on several TV makeover shows, this brand blends in with the surrounding teeth and is extremely aesthetic. It is one of the strongest all porcelain crowns used on front teeth.

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Fixed Bridge

A fixed bridge bonds a replacement tooth to healthy teeth and/or dental implants. It can replace from one to ten teeth. For more information, see Bridges.

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Gingiva

The gingiva is another term for the gums.

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Gingivectomy

A Gingivectomy (or Gingivoplasty) is a procedure where the gum tissue is sculpted around your teeth to create a more aesthetic gum line. Dr. Kidwell and Dr. Albus may suggest this procedure if you flash more gum than teeth when you smile or if your teeth look asymmetrical, too small, overly wide, or too short. Unlike Crown Lengthening, Gingivectomy involves only the gum tissue.

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Gingivoplasty

A Gingivoplasty is a procedure where the gum tissue is sculpted around your teeth to create a more aesthetic gum line. For more information, see Gingivectomy.

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Golden Proportions

The Golden Proportions are a set of height to width ratio guidelines for teeth. Dr. Kidwell or Dr. Albus will size your teeth using these guidelines when you are undergoing a smile makeover.

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Gum Disease

Gum disease (also called periodontal disease) is an inflammation in the gums and other tissues that surround your teeth. Since the early stages of gun disease aren’t painful, many patients forego treatment. That can be a big mistake since gum disease is treatable in its early stages. Many dentists are particularly concerned by gum disease since it has been linked to cardiovascular disease, diabetes, respiratory disease, and premature low-weight babies. If you have gum disease, Dr. Kidwell and Dr. Albus can treat the problem and help you maintain good dental health.

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Gum Lift

A gum lift is also called a crown lengthening. This procedure adjusts or moves the gum line to improve the appearance of a smile.

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Gum Recontouring

Gum recontouring is also called a crown lengthening. This procedure adjusts or moves the gum line to improve the appearance of a smile.

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Home Bleaching Kits

Home Bleaching Kits are over the counter products that allow you to whiten your teeth in the comfort of your home. Although there are a number of bleaching products on the market, most of these products are not as effective as the bleaching methods available in the dentist’s office. If you would like a recommendation on which product is best, Dr. Kidwell and Dr. Albus are more than happy to discuss this with you. For more information, see Bleaching.

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Inlays

An inlay is a natural looking filling that is shaped to fit a cavity. Dr. Kidwell and Dr. Albus may suggest inlays if a tooth cannot hold a filling. Inlays can be made of composite or porcelain.

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Nightguard

A nightguard is a removable plastic barrier worn at night to protect the teeth from night time grinding and clenching. This clear, plastic device protects your teeth from the wear and damage associated with grinding your teeth. Sometimes these are used to help treat TMJ disorders.

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Onlays

An onlay is a tooth-shaped restoration that completely or partially covers the natural tooth. Dr. Kidwell and Dr. Albus may suggest onlays as an alternative to a crown. Onlays can be made ofcomposite or porcelain.

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Overdenture

An overdenture is a full denture that connects to two or more implants for retention and stability. Overdentures may be removable or “fixed”, but are always more comfortable than a standard denture.

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Partial Denture

A partial denture is a removable device that restores multiple missing teeth. It usually clips onto solid teeth for stability. A partial is the least expensive way to replace missing teeth, but not the best.

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Periodontal Disease

See Gum Disease.

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Porcelain Veneers

A porcelain veneer is a thin layer of porcelain that is applied to the tooth surface to change the size, shape, and color of your teeth. Dr. Kidwell and Dr. Albus may suggest veneers to improve the appearance of your teeth or when your teeth have tough, bleach-resistant stains.

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Smile Analysis

A smile analysis is an appointment where Dr. Kidwell and Dr. Albus look at the shape of a smile, the size, the smile line, and the position of your teeth, lips, and gums when you smile. The dentists listen to what you want to accomplish and any concerns you may have. From there, they can suggest possible treatments and provide a custom smile design.

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Symmetry

Symmetry is a quality dentists examine when they analyze your smile. When Dr. Kidwell and Dr. Albus look at your smile, they will examine if your tooth size, tooth shape and gum contour follow the contour of your upper lip uniformly from one side of your smile to the other. If it does not and you are interested in enhancing your smile, Dr. Kidwell and Dr. Albus will discuss how to improve the symmetry of your smile.

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Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMJ)

Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ) is a condition that occurs when the hinge connecting your lower and upper jaws isn’t functioning properly. When you have TMJ, you may feel a click or pop when you move your jaw. Your jaw may even stick for a moment when you move it. Dr. Kidwell and Dr. Albus check for TMJ during your examination. Removable “splints” and “nightguards” are sometimes used to help with joint problems. If you suspect you have this disorder, talk to them and they will analyze your jaw and suggest possible treatments with you.

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Teeth Whitening

Teeth Whitening, also called bleaching, allows patients to safely lighten the color of their teeth. For more information, see Bleaching.

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