Dental Education

Provided are some answers to common dental questions. If you have any questions regarding our services at Smile Today Dental in Glenview or your oral health please call our office and we will gladly provide additional dental education. 847-440-3331.
Dentist Evelyn Kidonakis believes in providing education to you and your family so that you may maintain a healthy smile.

What is tooth whitening?

A bleaching process that reverses discolorations of the outside layer of tooth structure (enamel) to achieve a whiter appearance. There is no natural tooth structure loss and the immediate results are attractive. No anaesthetic is required for tooth whitening.

What are porcelain veneers?

Porcelain veneers are a thin, semi-translucent covering custom made to fit over an existing tooth. They are permanently bonded with a special resin to the front of the tooth. They are extremely durable and strong and can last for many years. They are resistant to stains and chipping as well. Maintaining routine exams and cleaning will ensure your veneers last a long time. Click here for our cosmetic section.

What is a crown?

A crown or cap is a tooth-like covering placed over an existing tooth. The purpose of a crown is to strengthen, restore and improve the appearance of a natural tooth. A crown is also used to accommodate the attachment of a fixed bridge or protect the structure of a tooth that is fractured.

What is halitosis?

More than 90 million people suffer from chronic halitosis or bad breath. Bacteria generally causes the odor from the decay of food particles and poor oral hygiene. The decay and debris produce a sulfur compound that causes the unpleasant odor. Bad breath also may occur in people who have a medical infection, Xerostomia (dry mouth), diabetes, gum disease kidney failure, or a liver malfunction and tobacco also contribute to this problem. Cancer patients who undergo radiation therapy may experience dry mouth. Stress, dieting, age and hormonal changes can have an effect on your breath as well.

How do I control halitosis?

It is critical to maintain good oral hygiene, such as brushing and flossing your teeth at least twice a day. To help odor control brush your tongue as well and use a tongue scraper to remove built up bacteria. Chewing sugarless gum may also be helpful in odor control. Dental checkups will help detect any physical problems and also help get rid of the plaque and bacteria that build up on your teeth. Untreated cavities or gum infections may also contribute to bad breath. Dr. Kidonakis may determine that the problem is caused from an internal source, such as an untreated infection. In this instance, you would be referred to your medical physician.

Should I be concerned about gum disease?

Your oral health affects your overall health. Researchers are discovering possible links between periodontal infections and other diseases throughout the body. Current studies suggest that there may be a link between periodontal (gum) disease, heart disease and other health conditions. Research also suggests that gum disease may be a more serious risk factor for heart disease than smoking, cholesterol, hypertension, gender and age. New studies suggest that people who have gum disease seem to be at a higher risk for heart attacks, the relationship of this is being rigorously studied. The current theory is that bacteria present in infected gums can come loose and move throughout the body. The same bacteria that cause gum disease and irritate your gums might travel to your arteries. Researchers are unsure what causes the bacteria to become mobile, but it has been suggested that bacteria can be dislodged and enter the bloodstream during tasks as simple as brushing, flossing or even chewing. Your best protection is to maintain a healthy mouth.

What should I do?

The best way to prevent gum disease is to brush and floss carefully and consistently in the first place, in addition to regular professional cleanings. Glenview dentist, Dr. Evelyn Kidonakis conducts a general periodontal preventive maintenance exam during your regular check-up. There are many new treatments available to control and help reverse gum disease.

Sources: American Dental Hygienists’ Association, CDA Journal, The American Heart Association, JADA (Journal of the American Dental Association)

Condensed Dental Glossary

We have listed a condensed dental glossary for you to become familiar with terms associated with dentistry.

ABSCESS – Acute or chronic, localized inflammation, with a collection of pus, associated with tissue destruction and swelling.
ABUTMENT – A tooth or implant used to support a prosthesis.
ALVEOLAR – This is referring to the bone to which a tooth is attached.
AMALGAM – Alloy used in direct dental restorations.
ANALGESIA – Loss of pain sensations without loss of consciousness.
ANESTHESIA – Partial or total absence of sensation to stimuli.
ANTERIOR – Referring to the teeth and tissues located towards the front of the mouth – maxillary and mandibular incisors and canines.
APEX – The tip or end of the root end of the tooth.
BENIGN – The mild character of an illness or the non-malignant character of a neoplasm.
BICUSPID – A premolar tooth; a tooth with two cusps.
BILATERAL – Pertaining to, or occurring on, both sides.
BIOPSY – The process of removing tissue for histologic evaluation.
BITEWING RADIOGRAPH – An interproximal view radiograph of the coronal portion of the tooth.
BONDING – This is the process by which two or more components are made integral by mechanical and/or chemical adhesion at their interface.
BRIDGE – A fixed partial denture which is a prosthetic replacement of one or more missing teeth cemented or attached to the abutment teeth or implant abutments adjacent to the space; removable partial denture (removable bridge) is a prosthetic replacement of one or more missing teeth on a framework that can be removed by the patient.
BRUXISM – Basically the parafunctional grinding of the teeth.
CALCULUS – A hard deposit of mineralized plaque, which is attached to crowns and/or roots of teeth.
CANAL – A relatively narrow tubular passage or channel; space inside the root portion of a tooth containing pulp tissue; the passage which transmits vessels and nerves through the jaw to branches that distributes them to the teeth.
CANTILEVER EXTENSION – This is part of a fixed prosthesis that is supported at one end only.
CARIES – Common term used for tooth decay.
CAVITY – Decay in the tooth caused by caries; also referred to as a carious lesion.
CEMENTUM – The hard connective tissue covering the tooth root.
CLEFT PALATE – A congenital deformity resulting in a lack of fusion of the soft and/or hard palate, either partial or complete.
COMPOSITE – A dental restorative material made up of disparate or separate parts.
CORONAL – Referring to the crown of a tooth.
Anatomical crown – Portion of the tooth normally covered by, and including enamel.
Abutment crown – An artificial crown serving for the retention or support of a dental prosthesis.
Artificial crown – The restoration covering or replacing the major part, or the entire clinical crown of a tooth.
Clinical crown – Portion of a tooth not covered by supporting tissues, visible to the eye.
CROWN LENGTHENING – A surgical procedure exposing more teeth for restorative purposes by apically positioning the gingival margin and/or removing supporting bone.
CURETTAGE – The scraping or cleaning of the walls of a cavity or infected gum pocket or space.
CUSP – A pointed or rounded eminence on or near the masticating(chewing) surface of a tooth.
CYST – A pathological cavity containing fluid or soft matter.
DECAY – Term for carious lesions in a tooth; decomposition of tooth structure.
DENTAL PROPHYLAXIS – The scaling and polishing procedure performed to remove coronal plaque, calculus, and stains.
DENTIN – Part of the tooth that is beneath enamel and cementum.
DENTITION – The teeth in the dental arch.
DENTURE – An artificial substitute for natural teeth and adjacent tissues.
DENTURE BASE – Part of a denture that makes contact with soft tissue and retains the artificial teeth.
DIASTEMA – A space, such as one between two adjacent teeth in the same dental arch.
DISPLACED TOOTH – a partial evulsion of a tooth
DISTAL – Pertaining toward the back of the dental arch
DRY SOCKET – A localized inflammation of the tooth socket following extraction due to infection or loss of blood clot.
EDENTULOUS – Meaning without teeth.
ENAMEL – The hard calcified tissue covering dentin of the crown of tooth.
ENDODONTIST – A dental specialist who limits practice to treating disease and injuries of the pulp and associated perpendicular conditions.
EQUILIBRATION – The reshaping of the occlusal surfaces of teeth to create harmonious contact relationships between the upper and lower teeth.
EVULSION – A complete separation of the tooth from its socket due to trauma.
EXCISION – The surgical removal of bone or tissue.
EXOSTOSIS – An overgrowth of bone.
EXTRACORONAL – The outside the crown of a tooth.
EXTRAORAL – Pertaining to outside the oral cavity.
FACIAL – Surface of a tooth directed toward the face and opposite the lingual surface.
FILLING – Term used for the restoring of lost tooth structure by using materials such as metal, alloy, plastic, or cement.
FORAMEN – A natural opening into or through bone.
FURCATION – The anatomic area of a multirooted tooth where the roots diverge.
GINGIVA – The soft tissues overlying the crowns of unerupted teeth and encircling the necks of those that have erupted.
GINGIVITIS – The inflammation of gingival tissue without loss of connective tissue.
GINGIVOPLASTY – A surgical procedure to reshape gingiva to create a normal, functional form.
HEMISECTION – The surgical separation of a multirooted tooth so that one root and/or the overlaying portion of the crown can be surgically removed.
IMPACTED TOOTH – An unerupted or partially erupted tooth that is positioned against another tooth, bone, or soft tissue so that complete eruption is unlikely.
IMPLANT – material inserted or grafted into tissue; dental implant – device specially designed to be placed surgically within or on the mandibular or maxillary bone as a means of providing for dental replacement.
INLAY – An intracoronal restoration.
INTERPROXIMAL – The area between the adjoining surfaces of adjacent teeth.
INTRACORONAL – This is referring to ‘within’ the crown of a tooth.
INTRAORAL – Inside of the mouth.
a protein present in all cuticular structures of the body, such as hair, epidermis, horns, and the organic matrix of the enamel of the teeth.
LABIAL – Pertaining to or around the lip.
LESION – An injury or wound; area of diseased tissue.
LINGUAL – Pertaining to or around the tongue.
MALAR – Pertaining to the cheekbone.
MALIGNANT – To have the properties of dysplasia, invasion, and metastasis.
MALOCCLUSION – The improper alignment of biting or chewing surfaces of upper and lower teeth.
MANDIBLE – The lower jaw.
MARYLAND BRIDGE – The trade name that has become synonymous with any resin-bonded fixed partial denture (bridge).
MAXILLA – The upper jaw.
MESIAL – Toward the midline of the dental arch.
MOLAR – Teeth posterior to the premolars on either side of the jaw; grinding teeth, having large crowns and broad chewing surfaces.
MUCOUS MEMBRANE – The lining of the oral cavity as well as other canals and cavities of the body.
OBTURATOR – A disc or plate, which closes an opening.
OCCLUSION – The contact between biting or chewing surfaces of maxillary and mandibular teeth.
ONLAY – The restoration made outside the oral cavity that replaces a cusp or cusps of the tooth, which is then luted to the tooth.
OPERCULUM – Flap of tissue over an unerupted or partially erupted tooth.
ORAL – Pertaining to the mouth.
ORAL AND MAXILLOFACIAL SURGEON – Dental specialist whose practice is limited to the diagnosis, surgical and adjunctive treatment of diseases, injuries, deformities, defects and esthetic aspects of the oral and maxillofacial regions.
ORAL PATHOLOGY – Specialty of dentistry and pathology concerned with recognition, diagnosis, investigation and management of diseases of the oral cavity, jaws, and adjacent structures.
ORTHODONTIST – Dental specialist whose practice is limited to the interception and treatment of malocclusion of the teeth and their surrounding structures.
ORTHOGNATHIC – The functional relationship of maxilla and mandible.
OSTEOPLASTY – A surgical procedure that modifies the configuration of bone.
OSTEOTOMY – The surgical cutting of bone.
OVERDENTURE – A prosthetic device that is supported by retained teeth roots or implants.
PALATE – The hard and soft tissues forming the roof of the mouth that separates the oral and nasal cavities.
PALLIATIVE – An action that relieves pain but is not curative.
PARTIAL DENTURE – Refers to the prosthetic device that replaces the missing teeth on a framework that can be removed by the patient.
PEDIATRIC DENTIST – Dental specialist whose practice is limited to the treatment of children from birth through adolescence.
PERIAPICAL – Area surrounding the end of the tooth root.
PERICORONAL – Area around the crown of a tooth.
PERIODONTAL – Pertaining to the supporting and surrounding tissues of the teeth.
PERIODONTAL DISEASE – The inflammatory process of the gingival tissues and/or periodontal membrane of the teeth.
PERIODONTIST – Dental specialist whose practice is limited to the treatment of diseases of the supporting and surrounding tissues of the teeth.
PERIODONTITIS – The inflammation and loss of the connective tissue of the supporting or surrounding structure of teeth with loss of attachment.
PERIRADICULAR – To surround a portion of the root of the tooth.
PLAQUE – Substance that accumulates on teeth composed largely of bacteria and bacterial derivatives.
PONTIC – The term used for the artificial tooth on a fixed partial denture.
POSTERIOR – Referring to teeth and tissues towards the back of the mouth.
PRIMARY DENTITION – First set of teeth.
PROPHYLAXIS – The scaling and polishing procedure performed to remove coronal plaque, calculus and stains.
PROSTHESIS – An artificial replacement of any part of the body;
PROSTHODONTIST – Dental specialist whose practice is limited to the restoration of the natural teeth and/or the replacement of missing teeth with artificial substitutes.
PULP – Blood vessels and nerve tissue that occupies the pulp cavity of a tooth.
PULP CAVITY – The space within a tooth which contains the pulp.
PULPECTOMY – The complete removal of pulp tissue from the root canal space.
PULPITIS – The inflammation of the dental pulp.
QUADRANT – One of the four equal sections into which the dental arches can be divided.
RADICULAR – Pertaining to the root.
ROOT CANAL – The portion of the pulp cavity inside the root of a tooth.
ROOT CANAL THERAPY – Treatment of disease and injuries of the pulp and associated periradicular conditions.
SCALING – The removal of plaque, calculus, and stain from teeth.
SEXTANT – One of the six relatively equal sections into which a dental arch can be divided.
SPLINT – A device used to support, protect, or immobilize oral structures that have been loosened, replanted, fractured or traumatized
STOMATITIS – The inflammation of the membranes of the mouth.
TEMPOROMANDIBULAR JOINT (TMJ) – Connecting hinge mechanism between the mandible and base of the skull.
TEMPOROMANDIBULAR JOINT DYSFUNCTION – The abnormal functioning of the temporomandibular joint.
TRISMUS – The restricted ability to open the mouth.
UNERUPTED – Tooth/teeth that have not penetrated into the oral cavity.
UNILATERAL – Pertaining to or affecting one side.
VENEER – Construction of crowns or pontics, a layer of tooth-colored material attached to the surface by direct fusion, cementation, or mechanical retention; also refers to a restoration that is luted to the tooth.
VESTIBULOPLASTY – One or all of a series of surgical procedures designed to increase relative alveolar ridge height.
XEROSTOMIA – The decrease in the salivary secretion that produces dryness of the oral mucosa and/or cervical caries.
YEAST – Term for a fungus.
ZYGOMATIC BONE – The quadrangular bone on either side of the face that forms the cheek prominence.

Thank you for showing interest in dental education. Our Glenview cosmetic and family dentist and staff is proud to share this and more dental information at any time.