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Dental Terminology Abbreviations

If someone wants to say a mouthful, all he need do is utter a word of dental terminology. It has some of the longest, most difficult words to pronounce for a lay person. For example, "perio" is a well known abbreviation in dentistry that means periodontal disease 1. **Or, perhaps it means peridontitis.

It actually means both of these words and more. But wait, we're not stopping with just one abbreviation 1. **

The Parts of a Tooth

D: distal surface, the part of the tooth farthest from the mid-line, or center front of the mouth. **M: mesial tooth surface, the part of the tooth closest to the mid-line.

** B: buccal tooth surface, the part of a posterior, or back tooth, facing the cheek. L: lingual, the part of the tooth that faces the tongue. O: occlusal, the biting surface of posterior teeth. I: incisal tooth surface, the biting edge, of front teeth.

F: facial tooth surface, the front side of anterior, or front, teeth. Ant: anterior, the front of the mouth. Post: posterior tooth surface, the back of the mouth.

Dental Fillings

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AM, or amal: amalgam filling material.

C or Comp: composite tooth-colored filling material. MODL: mesio-occlusal-distal-lingual amalgam filling. IF: incisal-facial composite filling. ZOE: zinc oxide and eugenol temporary filling material, which soothes the nerve of the tooth. PFM: porcelain fused to metal crown or bridge. PVC: porcelain veneer crowns, made of porcelain with no metal. FGC: full gold crown.

PV, or Ven: porcelain veneers, only for the facial surface of the tooth. Copalite: copal varnish used as an insulator in the tooth before a silver filling is placed. Dycal: calcium hydroxide, used under fillings to help restore secondary dentin. FGI: full gold inlay, involving a surface between the teeth. FGO: full gold inlay, does not involve a surface between the teeth.

Other Procedures

RCT: root canal therapy. EXT: extraction, or removal of a tooth. RT EXTS: root tip removal.

**Surg EXTS: surgical removal of teeth.

RPC: root planing and curettage, deep cleaning of the gums. Prophy: prophylaxis, teeth cleaning. ** SLT: sealants, on children's teeth.

FUD: full upper denture. FLD: full lower denture. PLD: partial lower denture. PUD: partial upper denture.

FLIP: flipper, or temporary partial denture. Pro Flo: prophylaxis, with fluoride. Top: topical anesthetic. Cat-gut: dissolvable sutures. Silk: silk sutures. Premed: patient premedicated with prophylactic antibiotic for dental treatment. ANUG: acute necrotizing ulcerative gingivitis, basically gangrene of the gum tissue.

Apico: apicoectomy, the surgical snipping off of root tips when contamination remains after root canal. BU AMAL: Amalgam build-up on a tooth that has broken down; it will eventually require a crown to restore it.

Medications and Miscellaneous

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N20: nitrous oxide. Novocaine: misnamed anesthetic correctly called Lidocaine or Carbocaine. RX: prescription for medication 2. BID: medication taken twice a day. TID: medication taken three times a day.

PRN: medication taken as needed for pain. Top: topical anesthetic gel used to numb the place to be injected. Bard Parker: scalpel to flap tissue. Perio: periodontal disease. FMX: full-mouth x-rays. PA: periapical x-ray of one tooth. BWX: bite wing x-rays. Pano: panoramic, x-ray of full mouth. Hyg: the patient's oral hygiene. **20: 20-gauge needle, usually used for upper-tooth injections.

** 24: 24-gauge needle, usually used for lower tooth injections. FL: fluoride given to children and adults after a prophy; it could be stannous fluoride or acidulated phosphate.

The Wrap Up

If someone wants to say a mouthful, all he need do is utter a word of dental terminology. Or, perhaps it means peridontitis. D: distal surface, the part of the tooth farthest from the mid-line, or center front of the mouth. Post: posterior tooth surface, the back of the mouth. MODL: mesio-occlusal-distal-lingual amalgam filling. Dycal: calcium hydroxide, used under fillings to help restore secondary dentin. FGO: full gold inlay, does not involve a surface between the teeth. Surg EXTS: surgical removal of teeth. Prophy: prophylaxis, teeth cleaning. PLD: partial lower denture. TID: medication taken three times a day. 20: 20-gauge needle, usually used for upper-tooth injections.

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