(207) 239-6099

Dental Terms

Hygiene Exams for Adults and Children +

Hygiene exams are also called prophylaxis, which means prevention of disease, or of a process that can lead to disease. Along with your personal oral hygiene routine at home these twice a year visits help to keep your teeth healthy and prevent gum disease.

Root Planing and Scaling +

Root planing and scaling is one of the most effective ways to treat gum disease before it becomes severe. Root planing and scaling removes plaque and tartar between the gums and the teeth down to the roots. Dr. Boudreau may need to use a local anesthetic to numb your gums and the roots of your teeth. We will use an ultrasonic instrument for planing and scaling, along with traditional dental hand instruments.

If we are able to remove all the plaque and tartar from the roots of your teeth, and if you follow treatment with good dental care, your gums should heal and reattach to the teeth. Without proper dental care, your gum disease may get worse.

Oral cancer screening +

Screening for oral cancer will be done during all routine check-ups by Dr. Boudreau. The exam will include looking for lesions (intra and extra orally), and palpating for lumps or swellings of the head and neck.

Tooth Colored/Composite Fillings +

Composite (ie. tooth colored) fillings are currently the most widely used dental filling material. These fillings are used to replace tooth structure after it has been removed due to decay. Fillings are also used to repair cracked or broken teeth, and teeth that have been worn down from misuse (such as from nail-biting or tooth grinding). Composite fillings are made from glass and quartz resin.

Crowns and Bridges +

A dental crown is a tooth-shaped “cap” that is placed over a tooth. It is used to cover a tooth to restore its shape and size, strength, and improve its appearance. The crowns, when cemented into place, fully encase the entire visible portion of a tooth that lies at and above the gum line. A crown may be needed in the following situations:
To protect a weak tooth (ie. one with severe decay, or one with a history of root canal therapy) from breaking
To protect a cracked tooth
To restore an already broken tooth or a tooth that has been severely worn down
To cover and support a tooth with a large filling
To hold a dental bridge in place
To cover misshaped or severely discolored teeth
To cover a dental implant
To make a cosmetic modification
Depending upon the circumstance, there are different types of crowns that will be appropriate for your situation. Crowns can be full metal (such as gold or another metal alloy), porcelain-fused-to-metal, all ceramic, and zirconia.

Porcelain-fused-to-metal and zirconia dental crowns +

Porcelain-fused-to-metal, and zirconia dental crowns can be color matched to your adjacent teeth (unlike the metallic crowns). However, more wear to the opposing teeth occurs with this crown type compared with metal or resin crowns. The crown’s porcelain portion can also chip or break off. Sometimes the metal underlying the crown’s porcelain can show through as a dark line, especially at the gum line and even more so if your gums recede.

All-ceramic or all-porcelain dental crowns +

All-ceramic or all-porcelain dental crowns provide better natural color match than any other crown type and may be more suitable for people with metal allergies. All-ceramic crowns are a good choice for front teeth.

Bridges +

Dental bridges span the gap created by one or more missing teeth.

A bridge is made up of two crowns for the teeth on either side of the gap — these two anchoring teeth are called abutment teeth — and a false tooth/teeth in between. These false teeth are called pontics. Dental bridges can be supported by natural teeth or implants.

Bridges can restore the ability to properly chew and speak, distribute the forces in your bite properly by replacing missing teeth, restore your smile, and prevent remaining teeth from drifting out of position.

There are three main types of dental bridges:

Traditional bridges involve creating a crown for the tooth or implant on either side of the missing tooth, with a pontic in between. Traditional bridges are the most common type of bridge.

Cantilever bridges are used when there are adjacent teeth on only one side of the missing tooth or teeth.
Maryland bonded bridges (also called a resin-bonded bridge or a Maryland bridge) are made of porcelain teeth with plastic gums that are supported by a metal framework. Metal wings on each side of the framework are bonded to the back side of your existing teeth.

Implants +

Implants are replacements for a natural tooth’s root. Implants are small titanium posts that are placed into the bone socket where teeth are missing. The implant is later covered with a replacement tooth called a crown.

An implant is placed into the bone of the mandible or maxilla where a tooth had previously resided. As the bone heals, it anchors the implant securely in place. This healing process can take from six to twelve weeks.

Once the implant has integrated into the bone, a small connector post – called an abutment – is attached to the implant to support the new tooth. The tooth, called a crown, is then cemented to the abutment. Because the implant is secured within the jawbone, the replacement teeth look, and function, in a similar fashion as natural teeth.
The procedure of placing the implant is done by one of the talented specialists in the Portland region. Dr. Boudreau will then be responsible for placing the crown and abutment on the implant.

Complete Dentures +

Dentures are a removable replacement for missing teeth and surrounding tissues. Two types of dentures are available — complete and partial dentures. Complete dentures are used when all the teeth are missing either in one or both dental arches, while partial dentures are used when some natural teeth remain.

Complete dentures can be either “conventional” or “immediate.” Made after the teeth have been removed and the gum tissue has begun to heal, a conventional denture is ready for placement in the mouth about eight to 12 weeks after the teeth have been removed.

Unlike conventional dentures, immediate dentures are made in advance and can be positioned as soon as the teeth are removed. As a result, the wearer does not have to be without teeth during the healing period. However, bones and gums shrink over time, especially during the healing period following tooth removal. Therefore the primary disadvantage of immediate dentures compared with conventional dentures is that they require more adjustments to fit properly during the healing process and generally should only be considered a temporary solution until conventional dentures can be made.

Partial Dentures +

A removable partial denture is fabricated when a person has some of their natural teeth and wants to replace the empty spaces. This type of denture can be made for esthetic reasons (such as missing front teeth), or functional reasons (to help someone chew more efficiently, or to prevent other teeth from drifting and changing their position). Partial dentures consists of replacement teeth attached to a pink or gum-colored plastic base, which is then connected to a metal framework that holds the denture in place inside the mouth.

All dentures, complete and partial, should be evaluated regularly, and need to be relined every 5-10 years to maintain their fit and support

Root Canal +

Root canal therapy is simply a filling inside of a tooth’s root. Root canal procedures are performed when the nerve of the tooth becomes infected. During a root canal procedure, the nerve and pulp is removed, and the inside of the root is cleaned and then sealed. The procedure may require one or more office visits and the final step may involve further a restoration of the tooth (i.e. a crown). Dr. Boudreau treats many of his patients that require root canal therapy, however, there are circumstances when it is necessary to refer the procedure to one of the dental specialists in the area who has extensive training in this treatment.

Tooth Extractions +

Although permanent teeth were meant to last a lifetime, there are a number of reasons why tooth extraction may be needed. A common reason involves a tooth that is too badly damaged to be repaired. Sometimes even primary, or “baby” teeth need to be extracted. This could be due to severe decay, orthodontic considerations or simply their stubborn refusal to exfoliate. Dr. Boudreau and his oral surgeon colleagues (dentists with special training to perform surgery) perform tooth extractions.

Digital Radiography +

Digital imaging involves the use of a radiography machine, like those that are used to create dental radiographs made with traditional film. When the digital radiograph is exposed, the image is transmitted to an imaging plate, and it is then scanned. Unlike conventional film that may take between three and five minutes to process, a digital radiographic image can be viewed quickly on a computer monitor.

With digital radiographic images, technical errors often can be corrected to provide an optimal radiograph without having to make another exposure. We can use magnification to enhance specific problem areas of a tooth, as well as alter brightness and contrast in the image. Viewing an enhanced dental radiograph on a computer screen can help see a problem area much more easily than looking at a film image.

Our office also can print , copy, or email digital radiographs. Because the images are stored on a computer, they can easily be compared with future dental radiographs to see if and how conditions have changed.

Digital radiographs eliminate the need for film and film processing chemicals that generate waste. Special light boxes to view the traditional radiographic films also are no longer needed.

Dental radiographic examinations require exposure to very low levels of radiation (considerably less than traditional film radiographs).

Many diseases of the oral cavity (which includes the teeth, surrounding tissues and bone) cannot be seen when Dr. Boudreau examines a patient’s mouth. A radiographic examination may help see:

– small areas of decay between the teeth or below existing restorations (fillings);

– bone destruction from a tooth infection (for example, an abscess) or a cyst;

– bone loss due to periodontal (gum) disease;

– developmental abnormalities;

– some types of tumors;

– the effects of trauma;

– the position of unerupted teeth in children and adults.