Dental Terminology Part 1

Some of us only speak English, while some are bi-lingual, others may even speak several languages. What we all have in common is the use of jargon, the terms and phrases unique to the dental profession. Another thing that many of us have in common is that we forget that it is jargon and speak it to our patients who, more than likely, have no idea what we are talking about. Many of them may be reticent or too embarrassed to ask for clarification. As dental professionals we must recognize that clear, unambiguous communication with a patient is crucial to a successful outcome.


With that said, Dental Laboratory London presents here, and in two or three subsequent articles, a brief glossary of common dental words and some suggestions as to ‘plain language’ for the same.


ABUTMENT (For a bridge)

An abutment for a bridge uses two or more teeth to fill the toothless space. An abutment is a prepared tooth.


This is a plastic widely used in dentistry for various purposes.

  1. Acrylic resin is used in making impression trays.
    1. Acrylic veneer is a tooth-collared layer of plastic placed over the surface of a crown or tooth.

 3. Once a tooth is prepared for a crown, a temporary crown is placed in the mouth. The acrylic temporary will provide similar function while your permanent tooth is being made.



There are numerous alloys used in the making of dental restorations. The following alloy classifications will be helpful for your patient to understand during the planning phase of treatment:


  • Noble metals include gold, platinum and palladium.
  • High noble alloys have a noble metal content of 60% or greater, of which at least 40% must be gold.
  • Noble alloys have a noble metal content of at least 25%.
  • Predominantly base alloys are less than 25% noble metal.



A metal or plastic device designed with a hinge to reproduce the open, close and side-to-side movement of the lower jaw.


Dental Laboratory London, as always, welcomes your questions, comments and suggestions.

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