How to decode dental-lingo and why it’s important

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how to decode dental lingo and why its important

Lingo is defined as a dialect spoken by a particular group of people. Also known as jargon, these special languages are often used by professionals such as engineers, lawyers, doctors, and us dentists in order to exchange complex information and ideas in a succinct way. The trouble with jargon is, when it’s used outside of the group, it is usually meaningless.

Old habits sometimes die hard

In defence of dental personnel, it is important that we have accurate terminology to record our findings and outline treatment. We use this so frequently that we often slip into lingo without even realizing this is what we are doing.

Here’s a common scenario. The chair rolls over and your dentist says, “It appears there was some serous exudates which indicates progression of gingivitis to periodontitis.”

In your mind you may be thinking, “Huh?”, but, perhaps, not wishing to appear uneducated, you may say, “okay.”

This is actually the wrong thing to do. My advice is to ask for clarity if you do not understand what is being said. Much like a trip to a foreign country, I recommend you slow your speech down and say clearly, “DO YOU SPEAK ENGLISH?”. Sometimes it’s hard for a dentist, to stop speaking dentist.

Understanding is power

It is important that you understand your dental diagnosis and treatment plan. Today so much treatment is optional, and there are so many choice s to what type of treatment you choose to have, that you must have enough information to help you make your treatment decisions.

Here is a brief Dento-English dictionary to help you with some of the dental terms you may encounter:

Gingivitis = Gum Disease

Periodontitis = Gum disease that goes into the bone,

Occlusion = How your teeth bite together

Crown = A cap over the whole tooth

Composite = A white plastic filling material

Bridge = A fixed replacement for a missing tooth using adjacent teeth for support

Partial Prosthesis = A removable replacement for one or more teeth

Hemorrhagic sulcular serous exudate = oozing puss and blood from the gums

The list is endless, so if you have any confusion after your next dental checkup I recommend you query your odontologist. Oops, some habits are hard to break…ask your dentist.

Any questions?

Please contact us.

Request an Appointment with Our Red Deer Dental Office