Dental Definition for...

Teeth Whitening

A whitening process for teeth describes the process of restoring the natural color of teeth by removing stains from the tooth surface. Whiteners are cleaning agents that can be found in some toothpaste and mouth rinses.

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The gradual leaching of crucial minerals (like calcium) from the tooth enamel, leaving it weaker.


The disorder known as bruxism causes you to clench, grind, or gnash your teeth. If you clench or grind your teeth while you sleep or while you are awake, this condition is known as bruxism (sleep bruxism). One sleep-related movement condition is sleep bruxism.

Tooth Decay

Tooth decay is damage to a tooth’s surface, or enamel. It happens when bacteria in your mouth make acids that attack the enamel. Tooth decay can lead to cavities (dental caries), which are holes in your teeth. If tooth decay is not treated, it can cause pain, infection, and even tooth loss.

Gum Disease

A dangerous gum infection that affects the soft tissue and can harm the bone that supports your teeth if left untreated. Gum disease is also known as periodontitis, and can result in teeth loosening or tooth loss.

Smile Makeover

A smile makeover is the process of improving the appearance and health of your of teeth and gums through a series of dentistry procedures. A dentist will assess the health of your jaw, gum foundation and teeth using a combination of visual, x-ray, and will make models of your teeth.


Cavities are permanently damaged areas in the hard surface of your teeth that develop into tiny holes. Cavities, also called tooth decay, are caused by bacteria in your mouth, frequent snacking, sipping sugary drinks, and not cleaning your teeth well.


Plaque that stays on your teeth can harden under your gumline into tartar (calculus), which collects bacteria. Tartar makes plaque more difficult to remove, creates a protective shield for bacteria and causes irritation along the gumline. You need professional dental cleaning to remove tartar.


Plaque is an invisible, sticky film composed mainly of bacteria that forms on your teeth when starches and sugars in food interact with bacteria normally found in your mouth. Plaque requires daily removal because it re-forms quickly. Plaque can turn into tartar.


Gingivitis is a common and mild form of gum disease (periodontal disease) that causes irritation, redness and swelling (inflammation) of your gingiva, the part of your gum around the base of your teeth. It is caused by the build-up of plaque and tartar.

Enamel Shaping

Enamel shaping is a quick technique done in your dentist’s office that can smooth out a small chip or a rough spot on your tooth.


Hard calcified tissue covering the dentin in the crown of the tooth. Because it contains no living cells, tooth enamel cannot repair damage from decay or from wear. 


Dental veneers (sometimes called porcelain veneers or dental porcelain laminates) are wafer-thin, custom-made shells of tooth-colored materials designed to cover the front surface of teeth to improve your appearance. These shells are bonded to the front of the teeth changing their color, shape, size, or length. Dental veneers can be made from porcelain or from resin composite materials. Porcelain veneers resist stains better than resin veneers. They also better mimic the light-reflecting properties of natural teeth. You will need to discuss the best choice of veneer material for you with your dentist.

Tooth Extraction

A tooth extraction is a procedure to remove a tooth from the gum socket. It is usually done by a general dentist, an oral surgeon, or a periodontist. You may be asked to take antibiotics before the procedure. You will get a local anesthetic to numb the area around the tooth so you do not feel pain. Your dentist may loosen the tooth in the gum using a tooth removal instrument called an elevator. Your dentist will then place forceps around the tooth and pull the tooth out from the gum. After your tooth is removed: Your dentist will clean out the gum socket and smooth out the bone that is left. The gum may need to be closed with one or more stitches, also called sutures. You will be asked to bite down on a damp piece of gauze to stop the bleeding.

Teeth Whitening Trays

Bleaching trays are plastic retainers made using models of your teeth that hold whitening gel.  Each tray is custom-made to fit over the user’s upper and lower teeth “like a glove.”  To perform treatments, the user places whitening gel in the teeth whitening trays and then seats them over their teeth according to the whitening gel manufacturer’s instructions.

Fluoride Treatments

Fluoride treatments are typically professional treatments containing a high concentration of fluoride that a dentist or hygienist will apply to a person’s teeth to improve health and reduce the risk of cavities. These in-office treatments may take the form of a solution, gel, foam, or varnish. Fluoride has several benefits for the teeth: It helps the body better use minerals, such as calcium and phosphate. The teeth reabsorb these minerals to repair weak tooth enamel. It joins into the tooth structure when teeth are developing to strengthen the enamel of the teeth, making them less vulnerable to bacteria and cavities for life. It slows or even reverses the development of cavities by harming bacteria that cause cavities. When taken together, these benefits may help to: reduce the risk of cavities slow the growth of cavities delay the need for expensive dental work prolong the life of baby teeth reduce the amount of time and money a person has to spend at the dentist By preventing cavities and slowing the growth of bacteria, fluoride treatment may also: prevent gum disease reduce tooth pain prevent the premature loss of teeth

Dental Fluorosis

Dental fluorosis happens when you consume too much fluoride while your teeth are still forming under your gums. This results in white spots on the surface of your teeth. Other than the appearance of white spots, dental fluorosis doesn’t cause any symptoms or harm. It tends to affect only children under the age of 8 who have permanent teeth still coming in. Children are also more likely to swallow toothpaste, which contains significantly more fluoride than fluoridated water. You can reduce your child’s risk of developing dental fluorosis by supervising them when they brush their teeth to make sure they aren’t swallowing large amounts of toothpaste.


Fluoride is often called nature’s cavity fighter and for good reason. Fluoride, a naturally-occurring mineral, helps prevent cavities in children and adults by making the outer surface of your teeth (enamel) more resistant to the acid attacks that cause tooth decay. Fluoride benefits both children and adults. Here’s how: Before teeth break through the gums, the fluoride taken in from foods, beverages and dietary supplements makes tooth enamel (the hard surface of the tooth) stronger, making it easier to resist tooth decay. This provides what is called a “systemic” benefit. After teeth erupt, fluoride helps rebuild (remineralize) weakened tooth enamel and reverses early signs of tooth decay. When you brush your teeth with fluoride toothpaste, or use other fluoride dental products, the fluoride is applied to the surface of your teeth. This provides what is called a “topical” benefit. In addition, the fluoride you take in from foods and beverages continues to provide a topical benefit because it becomes part of your saliva, constantly bathing the teeth with tiny amounts of fluoride that help rebuild weakened tooth enamel.

Dental Crowns

Over time, your teeth can get damaged. This can happen for a variety of reasons, like tooth decay, injuries or just use over time. Your teeth can lose their shape or size. Dental crowns are tooth-shaped “caps” that can be placed over your tooth. Think of it like a snug hat for your tooth. The crown restores the tooth’s shape, size, strength and appearance. The dental crown is cemented into place on your tooth and it covers the visible portion of the tooth.

Dental Bridge

If you have one or more missing teeth, a dental bridge can fill the gap with one or more artificial (false) teeth. A bridge is typically made of crowns on either side of the missing tooth or teeth supporting the pontic (false tooth) and is cemented in place. The most common causes of missing teeth are tooth decay, gum disease and injury. Or you may have been born with missing teeth due to a congenital condition. To get a dental bridge, you need healthy teeth on either side of the missing ones.


Periodontics is a specialty of dentistry involves diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of gum (periodontal) disease.

Teeth Bleaching

Bleaching teeth refers to whitening teeth beyond their natural color. Active ingredients like hydrogen peroxide and carbamide peroxide are bleaching agents most often used in teeth bleaching processes.


A dental abscess is a collection of pus that can form inside the teeth, in the gums or in the bone that holds the teeth in place. It’s caused by a bacterial infection. An abscess at the end of a tooth is called a periapical abscess. An abscess in the gum is called a periodontal abscess.

Root Canal

When one undergoes a root canal, the inflamed or infected pulp is removed and the inside of the tooth is carefully cleaned and disinfected, then filled and sealed. A root canal treatment is designed to eliminate bacteria from the infected root canal, prevent reinfection of the tooth and save the natural tooth.


Invisalign are clear aligners and orthodontic devices that are a transparent, plastic form of dental braces used to adjust teeth. It is a clear alternative to metal braces for kids, teens, and adults. Invisalign treatment involves an orthodontist or dentist, or with home-based systems, the person themselves, taking a mold of the patient’s teeth, which is used to create a digital tooth scan. The computerized model suggests stages between the current and desired teeth positions, and aligners are created for each stage.


Dr. Daniel Holsteen has been caring for the dental needs of our community for over 32 years.

Our Mission is to become lifetime partners in the healthcare of our patients, to help them to achieve the highest standard of dental care, & to respect their unique and individual needs and desires, and to become the best family denstist in Colorado Springs.

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