Gentle Dental of West Chester
125 Turner Lane, West Chester, PA 19380

Glossary of Dental Terms

Abscess

An infection in a tooth, often accompanied by swelling and inflammation.

 

Abutment

Tooth or tooth root that supports or stabilizes a bridge, denture, or other prosthetic appliance.

 

Adhesive Dentistry

Process in which composite resin is adhered to the existing enamel of a tooth. This can be used to repair or improve the appearance of a tooth.

 

Allergy

An abnormal reaction of the body to a drug or foreign substance.

 

Anesthesia

General or local insensibility to pain, induced by certain interventions or drugs to permit the performance of surgery or other painful procedures.

 

Anterior Teeth

The six upper and lower front teeth. These consist of incisors and cuspids.

 

Bicuspid or pre-molar

Any of eight teeth located in pairs on each side of the upper and lower jaws between the cuspids and molars.

 

Bonding

A procedure for restoring the discolored or damaged surface of a tooth by coating it with composite resin that adheres to the existing enamel.

 

Bridge

An artificial replacement of a missing tooth or teeth, attached by cement or composite resin to natural teeth or roots adjacent to the space.

 

Crown

1.             The part of a tooth that is covered by enamel and not covered by gum tissue.

2.             An artificial substitute, as of gold or porcelain, which entirely covers the anatomical crown of a tooth

 

Cuspid or canine

The four pointed or conical teeth also commonly known as ‘eyeteeth’.

 

DDS

Doctor of Dental Surgery

 

Dentin

Hard tissue that forms the inner layer of the structure of a tooth and is situated beneath the surface enamel

 

Dental implant

A metal screw (often titanium) that is surgically anchored in the gums or jawbone to support a dental appliance or replace a missing tooth.

 

Denture

An artificial replacement of some or all of the natural teeth

 

Disease of the gums

Periodontal disease (also called “Gum Disease” or “Periodontal Disease”) involves bacterial growth (a colorless film, called “plaque”) that gradually destroys the tissue surrounding the teeth. If not removed, plaque builds up on the teeth and ultimately irritates the gums and causes bleeding. If left untreated, bone and surrounding tissue will decay, resulting in loose teeth, or worse, tooth loss. More than 75 percent of Americans over 35 have some form of gum disease.

 

DMD

Doctor of Dental Medicine

 

Enamel

The hard layer covering of the crown of a tooth.

 

Endodontics

The area of dentistry concerned with the treatment of the dental pulp or nerve of the tooth.

 

Endodontists

Endodontists are dentists who have additionally 2-3 years of training following dental school and typically limit their practice to root canal therapy and root canal surgery. Very often Endodontists earn a graduate degree (Master’s degree) as well as specialized certified training. While some Dentists perform root canals themselves, generally Dentists will refer a patient requiring Endodontics to a trained Endodontist.

 

Filling

A substance, such as metal, porcelain or resin, that is used to replace lost tooth structured caused by decay.

 

Gingivitis

Inflammation of the gums.

 

Halitosis

Bad breath

 

Incisors

The four front teeth in either the upper or lower jaw.

 

Malocclusion

Faulty contact between the upper and lower teeth, causing these teeth to be misaligned.

 

Mandible

The lower jaw

 

Maxilla

The upper jaw

 

Molars

Teeth for grinding food, located in the back of the mouth on either side.

 

Nerve (root) canal

Hollow passage inside of a tooth, inhabited by nerve tissue.

 

Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery

Surgery to correct a wide spectrum of diseases or injuries upper jaw or face.

 

Oral Surgeon

An Oral Surgeon (“Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon” or OMFS) first receive their training in dentistry and then continue further specialization in treating the areas of the mouth, jaws and the face as well as associated structures. While Oral Surgeons often additionally go on to study medicine and may go so far to take a Medical Degree (MD), a medical degree is not required for an OMFS to practice. Oral & maxillofacial surgery is universally recognized as a one of the nine specialties of dentistry.

 

Orthodontics

Orthodontics is an area of dentistry that involved the treatment of improper bites (“malocclusions”) making use of a variety of devises, most commonly, braces, to move teeth or adjust underlying bone. The word comes from the Greek words ortho meaning straight and odons meaning tooth.

 

Orthodontist

Orthodontists first complete 4 years of dental school training (DDS). Orthodontists additionally complete 2-3 of residency training focused on the specific treatment and realignment of misaligned teeth with devises including braces, retainers and other methods.

 

Overbite

Condition in which the upper incisors overlap the lower ones.

 

Pediatric Dentistry

The practice of dentistry on children.

 

Pediatric Dentist

Pediatric Dentists (or Pediodontists) study an additional 2 years in a residency program following their graduation from dental school. As specified by the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, Pediatric Dentists study advanced diagnostic and surgical procedures, along with child psychology and clinical management, oral pathology, child-related pharmacology, radiology, child development, management of oral/facial trauma, care for patients with special needs, conscious sedation and general anesthesia.

 

Periodontics/Periodontist

Periodontists typically study for an additional 3 years following dental school. During their clinical training, Periodontists are involved in learning both the treatment, as well as prevention techniques for periodontal diseases. Periodontists may also study advanced surgical techniques such as periodontal plastic surgery, and dental implant placement.According to the American Academy of Periodontology there are currently 52 institutions offer advanced training programs in periodontics in the United States

 

Periodontal Disease(also known as Periodontics)

Periodontal disease, also called “gum disease”, involves bacterial growth (a colorless film, called “plaque”) that gradually destroys the tissue surrounding the teeth. When plaque builds up on the teeth, it can result in gum irritation and possibly bleeding. If left untreated, bone and surrounding tissue will decay, resulting in loose teeth, or worse, tooth loss

 

Plaque

Deposit of saliva, food and bacteria that accumulates on the teeth in the from of a whitish, sticky substance.

 

Prosthodontics

The area of dentistry that deals with the replacement of missing teeth or jaw structures by bridges, dentures, or other artificial devices.

 

Prosthodontist

Specialist who must complete dental training (DDS) and then continue for an additional 3 years of specialty training in the area of prosthodontics (i.e. implants, esthetic and reconstructive dentistry). Cosmetic dentistry, implants and joint problems all fall under the field of prosthodontics

 

Root

The embedded portion of a tooth that connects it to the jaw.

 

Root Canal

The space inside the root of the tooth. This space contains the pulp.

Also, this is the term commonly used for root canal therapy, a procedure in which the nerve and tissues are removed from the canal and replaced with filling material.

 

Splint

Means of securing one or more loose teeth to one or more healthy, secure teeth.

 

 

Tartar

Calculus on the teeth; a hard, yellowish substance that attracts plaque.

 

TMJ

Temporomandibular joint syndrome and TMJ joint disorders are medical problems related to the jaw joint. The TMJ connects the lower jaw to the skull.

 

Veneer

A thin layer of plastic or porcelain applied to the outside of the tooth for aesthetic purposes.

 

Wisdom Teeth

Third molars; the last teeth to appear in the mouth. These teeth usually appear between the ages of 18 and 25. They are so called because they appear later in life when a person is physically mature.

 

Read What Our Patients Say
Patient Reviews
treatment was very gentle
Anonymous
Great dentist, very personable and put me at ease right away. And that's saying something since you usually have to gas me before I'd let you near me.
Dusty T.
Great appointment as always!
Lucy D.
Most professional, friendly and accomodating.
Frank P.
As always, everyone that works at Gentle Dental West Chester are awesome.
Lucy D.
As always, everyone in the West Chester office are awesome!
Lucy D.
Both excellent dental care and an efficient and informative office staff and administrative system.
Douglas S.
very good dentist would recommend to anyone.
Elwood C.
Everyone at Gentle Dental is professional and polite. Dr. Valentine checked out my situation and provided me with her professional opinion and […]
John R.
Dr Valentine continues to be the best dentist I've seen. Quick, painless, efficient. Couldn't be happier.
Bret R.
I have been seeing Dr. Penfil for over 25 years and highly recommend this dentist!
Anonymous
Very accommodating
James K.
Every one is so nice and they make you feel comfortable !!
Pamela J.
I had a good experience this past Friday. I had 2 teeth extracted by Dr. Valentine. She did a great job. She is very nice and professional at the […]
Patricia D.
I was very pleased with Dr. Valentine's professional work. She always makes me feel very comfortable!
Joseph Y.
I had a great experience. Thank you
Regina G.
You guys were awesome !
Matthew R.
This is my first visit. The staff is very nice on the phone and in person. I really like Dr. Valentine. She is thorough,caring of my needs and made […]
Susan F.
Great service and everyone was extremely helpful and informative.
Sean P.
Fast, great service from friendly staff.
Anonymous
As always, I had a great visit.
Lucy D.
I have finally found a dentist (Dr. Valentine) who is absolutely amazing. She is professional, sincere and efficient. I never leave her office […]
Melinda A.
Friendly, accommodating, and most importantly the work that's been done on my teeth is fantastic. I could ask for anything more in a practice.
Wesley W.
I have been treated with respect from the front desk, Dentist to the paying of my bill. This is from a life long dentist hater who is no longer in […]
Nancy H.
Still amazing! Dr. Penfil and Laura! They are awesome!
Jacqueline W.
They do great work very happy and I would recommend everyone to go there.
Elwood C.
Made me feel comfortable and people were friendly
Pamela J.
polite and painless
Douglas L.
very through
Beverly J.
Extremely kind. Great customer service. They were able to schedule me in for an emergency appointment the same day I called.
Mike C.
Fast and painless tooth extraction
Chris N.
The office was clean and the staff was friendly and professional. The doctor was very caring and helpful.
Shauna M.
Difficult situation worked out very well so far.
Michael S.
Always a good experience
James K.
Saw me immediately for dental emergency
James K.
The folks at Gentle Dental are professional and friendly.
Anonymous
Caring, patient treatment. Answered all of my questions and kept me apprised of what was going on. Friendly, excellent and painless care. Very good!
Daniel M.
Excellent service and great advice.
Lee T.
Dr. Valentine is very personable, and truly seems to care. She makes sure that you see your X-rays in order to understand exactly what may be an […]
Thomas S.
Dr Penfill is very, very thorough
David G.
Always on time for appointments and very friendly staff.
Anonymous
Great folks to be around during a trip to the dentist. Everything went perfectly! I was in and out before I knew it.
Chris T.
It was pleasurable.
Maria M.
Dr Penfill is awesome!!
David G.
Excellent service and professional staff.
Rebecca A.
Painless!
Sharon R.
I was able to get in the same day for a broken filling replacement. I was explained my options to fix the tooth along with the financial impact […]
Curt L.
Dr. Valentine is great!
Sean P.
Dr. Valentine is very very nice and very patient with me I know I can be a difficult patient at times. I am thankful to her and her staff
Carolyn B.
I was taken on time. Service was quick and painless. I had a filling done and a cleaning the previous week. Everyone from the receptionist to the […]
Al K.
Office Hours
Mon. – 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Tue. – 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Wed. – 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Thu. – 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Fri. – 9:00 AM - 1:00 PM
Sat. – Closed
Sun. – Closed
Phone: (484) 643-4417
Fax: (610) 738-9445
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For appointments, call: (484) 643-4417
Office Hours
  • Monday 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
  • Tuesday 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
  • Wednesday 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
  • Thursday 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
  • Friday 9:00 AM - 1:00 PM
  • Saturday Closed
  • Sunday Closed
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  • Phone: (484) 643-4417
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