Common dental procedures… explained


Get simple definitions to common dental procedures

Dental terms are commonly used with the assumption that everyone knows what they mean. But don’t worry if you’re a little fuzzy about the meaning of some dental terms. We can help easily explain what common dental procedures are and what they can do for your oral health. Let’s dig in.

Dental exam
Bitewing x-ray
Panoramic x-ray
Deep Cleaning
Dental Sealants
Tooth Extraction
Root Canal
Dental Implant

General dental exam

Most dental procedures start with a basic dental exam. Preventive dental exams do a basic cleaning of the teeth to remove plaque and other debris. Once cleaned, the dentist is able to check the overall oral health of your mouth. Sometimes x-rays may be performed too. After polishing your teeth, a dental professional may recommend other treatments if needed. Most people see the dentist every six months for a basic exam to maintain their oral health.

Bitewing x-rays

Bitewing x-rays are a basic type of procedure that allows a dentist to evaluate the health of your teeth on the inside. X-rays can indicate if there are any issues in a tooth or the jaw that might require further attention. But don’t worry, bitewing x-rays are perfectly safe and painless.

Panoramic x-rays

Panoramic x-rays are also known as full mouth x-rays. Similar to a panoramic picture of the skyline, these x-ray machines are able to get a larger view of the entire mouth and jaw in one panoramic view. A dentist may recommend one of these tests if they need to get a better diagnostic view of any potential oral issues.

Deep cleaning

Deep cleanings may be needed for some patients that need additional care beyond a basic dental cleaning. For patients that have excessive plaque or tarter build up, a deep cleaning or periodontal root scaling helps to remove the oral debris in the mouth. These more involved cleanings can clean the mouth both above and below the gum line to keep teeth clean and healthy.

Dental Sealants

Dental sealants are a newer preventive treatment to help prevent cavities and protect your teeth. Sealants are a plastic like substance that is applied to the deep grooves of the molars or back teeth. This helps create a “seal” to keep food particles and sugar from getting stuck in the teeth that could create cavities. Dental sealants are most popular with children.

Dental fillings

Dental fillings are necessary to repair cavities. Cavities are the early stages of tooth decay that must be treated to prevent further oral damage. Dentists typically remove the tooth debris and soft decay, and then use a resin or amalgam substance to “fill” the missing space that was removed. Dental fillings can last for many years to keep a tooth healthy.

Tooth extraction

When a tooth has been damaged or decayed beyond repair, it may need to be removed. Tooth extractions are simply the removal of a tooth. These can be wisdom teeth for oral surgery or other teeth with a simple procedure in the dental office. Most patients receive some type of anesthetic to prevent any pain during the extraction.

Root canal

Patients with oral pain may need a root canal. A root canal removes the pulp or soft tissue at the root of a tooth to help relieve the pain and also help the tooth heal. A root canal can be the first step to try to save a damaged tooth.


A crown is a porcelain tooth cap that improves the appearance and usage of a damaged tooth. Crowns are typically glued to the base of an existing tooth that is shaved down to receive the crown. For those with a dental plan, crowns are typically considered a major service for dental insurance.


Patients who have a tooth extracted may need a bridge. A bridge is an artificial porcelain replacement for one or more missing teeth. Bridges are typically glued to the base of the existing teeth on either side of the open space. If someone looses a tooth due to oral trauma, then a bridge can be an important treatment for tooth replacement.


For those who are missing several teeth, a denture is a removable artificial replacement for a set of missing teeth. Dentures can be adhesively attached to the gums or other anchors. When needed, patients can receive both upper and lower dentures. They can also have partial or complete dentures to replace a larger number of missing teeth.

Dental implant

Dental implants are a popular new alternative to missing teeth. A dental implant is a permanent replacement for one or more missing teeth. Whereas crowns and bridges need a tooth base to attach to, dental implants are actually anchored to the bone of the jaw. When fully implanted, dental implants can look and feel like natural teeth. Implants can even be covered by dental insurance.

Hopefully we’ve made these common dental procedures easier to understand. Be sure to ask your dental provider more about any dental services they may recommend for your treatment plan. At EasyDentalQuotes, we make dental easy.

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