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Glossary of Cosmetic Dentistry Terms

Bonding (Adhesion) - Adhering tooth-colored resin materials to tooth surface to create a bond.

Bonding (Composite Resin) - Process by which enamel-like resin is bonded to a tooth's surface, sculpted to an ideal shape, hardened, and polished.

Bridge - Fixed or removable dental appliance which replaces lost teeth.

Composite Resin - Tooth-colored filling material made of resin reinforced with silica or porcelain particles.

Cosmetic Contouring - Reshaping the natural teeth to make them straighter or more youthful in appearance.

Cosmetic Dentistry - The field of dentistry dedicated to the art and science of enhancing a person's smile, overall appearance, and oral health.

Crown - A cap, cover, or restoration to replace the missing portion of a tooth. (This procedure can also correct general bite with individual teeth or replace missing teeth.)

Dentin - The layer of tooth structure under the enamel.

Diastema - The space between two teeth.

Enamel - The hard, white outer layer of the tooth that covers and protects the dentin.

Fixed Bridge - A fixed dental appliance (used to replace a missing tooth/teeth) cemented or bonded to adjacent teeth which have been prepared to provide anchor supports.

Gingiva - Gum tissue.

High Lipline - Where the widest smile meets the gum tissue above the teeth.

Incisor - The central or lateral front teeth with cutting edges (4 upper and 4 lower).

Inlay - A porcelain, resin, or gold filling (made to fit a prepared cavity) cemented or bonded in place to help restore a decayed or broken tooth.

Dental Implant - A fixed dental appliance used to replace missing teeth.

Laminate Veneer - A thin porcelain resin shell that is bonded to the enamel of front teeth.

Laminating - The process of applying a thin porcelain or composite resin veneer to a tooth.

Low Lipline - Where the widest smile barely reveals the bottom edges of the upper front teeth.

Malocclusion - A bad bite caused by incorrect positions of the upper or lower teeth.

Midline - An imaginary vertical line that divides the face into equal parts.

Onlay - A porcelain, resin, or gold filling that protects a tooth by covering the chewing surface.

Partial Denture (Bridge) - A fixed or removable dental appliance that replaces missing natural teeth.

Porcelain - A ceramic, tooth-colored material that fuses at high temperatures to form a hard, enamel-like substance.

Posterior-bonded Composite Resin - Tooth-colored fillings primarily used for back teeth.

Resin-bonded Bridge - A thin metal or glass fiber-reinforced bridge which requires slight or no reduction of anchor teeth.

Rubber Dam - A thin rubber sheet applied to teeth to control moisture during dental procedures.

Veneers (Porcelain or Composite) - Ultra-thin, custom-made laminates bonded to teeth, especially effective for repairing chipped, cracked, or worn teeth.

Walking Bleach - A method used to lighten a tooth that has darkened after root canal treatment.

Whitening - The process of brightening stained, discolored, or dull teeth with in-office power method or dentist-supervised, at-home whitening systems.