UNDERSTANDING DENTAL TERMS
WHY SHOULD I KNOW THIS?
Like medical terminology, dental terminology can be confusing and overwhelming. Our doctors will explain everything in laymen's terms for you, but here is a quick guide in case you forget or need a reference.
Enamel - the hard covering of your tooth. Acids from food or decay can eat away at the enamel.
Dentin - the layer in between the enamel and nerve. If cavities reach the dentin, they are irreversible and have to be filled in.
Nerve - the inner most layer. If a cavity reaches the nerve, the decay often causes pain and sensitivity to hot or cold temperatures. At this point, we often have to do a root canal procedure to save the tooth.
Crown - the part of your tooth above the gum line. There is a procedure called a "crown" as well where we create a synthetic crown of your tooth to be placed over the original.
READING AN X-RAY
This is an example x-ray. The doctors will look at the differences of shades to detect cavities, plaque build up, alignment, etc. During your appointment, our doctors will point out things in your x-rays that concern them or that they want to keep on eye on.
The gum line is hard to see on the x-rays, but we are able to see all the way down the root. This is why x-rays are recommended at least once per year to check the tooth health beneath the visible gum line.
TXP - Treatment Plan. This is our proposed plan if you have any procedures the doctor recommends.
BW- Bitewing x-ray. This is a type of x-ray that lets us see the molars.
PA - Periapical x-ray. This is the x-ray that lets us see your front teeth or problem spots.
FMX - Full mouth x-ray. This is a set of 18 x-rays that we generally take for new patients to familiarize ourselves with their teeth.
EOB - Explanation of Benefits. This is the statement we receive from the insurance company that explains what they paid, why they paid, and any balance that is left over. You do NOT need to pay EOBs, please wait for a statement from our office.
Preauth - Preauthorization. This is a form we send to the insurance company before major procedures to get a confirmed answer of what the insurance company plans to cover. These normally take 2-3 weeks to be processed.
Statement - This is the bill from our office if there is any balance left over from services rendered. This is different from the EOB as that is from the insurance company.