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Dental Definitions

Periodontics, Endodontics, Orthodontics - what a mouthful! Here's a few quick definitions to help you along the way!


Types of Dentists

A general dentist may perform any type of dental services, but may refer patients to a specialist for more complex procedures. Dental specialists include:

Endodontist - for root canals.
Oral Surgeon - for complex extractions and surgery related to your mouth and jaw.
Orthodontist - for straightening teeth using braces or other devices such as retainers.
Pedodontist - for treating children.
Periodontist - for treatment and surgery of the gums due to gum disease.
Prosthodontist - for replacing missing teeth in complex cases.


Dentists' Vocabulary

Bridge - a replacement for one or more missing or extracted natural teeth, supported and held by attachments to restored teeth, and usually not removable.

Crown (also known as a 'cap') - a fixed restoration covering the major part of the natural tooth, usually fabricated of gold, porcelain, or acrylic resin.

Preventive Care - cleanings, exams and fluoride treatment to prevent cavities and decay.

Root Canal - A. The canal in the tooth running from approximately the gumline to the end of the tooth in the jaw and filled with the dental pulp. B. Filling - the material placed in the root canal to replace the space once occupied by the dental pulp.

Root Canal Filling

Sealant - a clear plastic material applied to the chewing surfaces of the permanent back molars, used to prevent decay in children and applied as soon as the permanent teeth break through the surface.


Dental Insurance Terminology

Allowable charge - The maximum Delta Dental of Rhode Island will pay for a covered service.

Co-insurance - When members receive certain dental services, they pay a percent of the Delta Dental of Rhode Island allowable charge. This payment is known as co-insurance.

Deductible - The amount of money a member pays for covered services before Delta Dental of Rhode Island begins to pay for the service.

Member - A member includes any employee and their eligible dependents (e.g. spouse, child) who are covered under a Delta Dental of Rhode Island policy.

Pre-Treatment Estimate - A form submitted to Delta Dental of RI before the services are provided. Delta Dental of Rhode Island processes the pre-treatment estimate and sends a form to the subscriber and the dentist giving an estimate of how much and what services will be covered.

Student - To qualify for student coverage, your group must have Student Rider coverage, and a dependent child who is over age 19 must meet the following criteria: 1) be enrolled on a family plan and 2) be registered as a full-time student at an accredited college or university.