Herrmann & Desio Family Dentistry
510 N. Washington St, Suite 301, Falls Church, VA 22046

Glossary of Dental Terms

A

Amalgam – Material made from mercury and other alloy mixtures used to restore a drilled portion of a tooth.
Anesthesia – Medications used to relieve pain.
Anterior teeth – Front teeth. Also called incisors and cuspids.
Arch – The upper or lower jaw.

B

Baby bottle tooth decay – Caused by sugary substances in breast milk and some juices, which combine with saliva to form pools inside the baby?s mouth.
Bicuspids – Back teeth used for chewing.
Bitewings – X-rays that help a dentist diagnose cavities.
Bonding – Application of tooth-colored resin materials to the surface of the teeth.
Bridge – A fixed or removable appliance that replaces lost teeth.
Bruxism – Teeth grinding.

C

Calculus – A sticky substance (also called tartar) that has hardened.
Canal – The narrow chamber inside the tooth?s root.
Canines – Also called cuspids.
Canker sore – One that occurs on the delicate tissues inside your mouth. A canker sore is usually light-colored at its base and can have a red exterior border.
Caries – Another term for decay, which causes cavities.
Cold sore – Usually occurs on the outside of the mouth, usually on or near the nose or lips. A cold sore is contagious because it is caused by the herpes simplex virus, and it is usually painful and filled with fluid.
Composite filling – Tooth colored restorations, also known as resin fillings.
Composite resin – A tooth-colored resin combined with silica or porcelain and used as a restoration material.
Contouring – The process of reshaping teeth.
Crown – An artificial cover that is placed on the top of a tooth following restoration.
Cusps – The pointed parts on top of the back teeth?s chewing surface.
Cuspids – Front teeth that typically have a protruding edge.

D

Dentin – The tooth layer underneath the enamel.
Denture – A removable set of teeth.

E

Endodontics – A form of dentistry that addresses problems affecting the tooth?s root or nerve.

F

Fluoride – A naturally occurring substance added to water, toothpastes and some rinses and used for strengthening the tooth?s enamel.
Fluorosis – A harmless over-exposure to fluoride and resulting sometimes in tooth discoloration.

G

Gingiva – Another word for gum tissue.
Gingivitis – A minor disease of the gums caused by plaque.
Gum disease – An infection of the gum tissues. Also called periodontal disease.

I

Impacted teeth – A condition in which a tooth fails to erupt or only partially erupts.
Implant – A permanent appliance used to replace a missing tooth.
Incisor – Front teeth with cutting edges; located in the center or on the sides near the front.
Inlay – An artificial filling made of various materials, including porcelain, resin, or gold.

L

Laminate veneer – A shell that is bonded to the enamel of a front tooth. The shell is usually thin and made from porcelain resin.
Laser – Light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation. A single wavelength beam of highly concentrated energy.

M

Malocclusion – Bad bite relationship.
Mandible – The lower jaw.
Maxilla – The upper jaw.
Molar – Usually the largest teeth, near the rear of the mouth. Molars have large chewing surfaces.

N

Neuromuscular Dentistry – are more than the aches and pains felt in around the neck and head that are associated with your teeth and jaw.

O

Onlay – A filling designed to protect the chewing surface of a tooth.
Orthodontics – A field of dentistry that deals with tooth and jaw alignment.
Overdenture – A non-fixed dental appliance applied to a small number of natural teeth or implants.

P

Palate – Roof of the mouth.
Partial denture – A removable appliance that replaces teeth. Also called a bridge.
Pedodontics – A field of dentistry that deals with children?s teeth.
Perio pocket – An opening formed by receding gums.
Periodontal disease – Infection of the gum tissues. Also called gum disease.
Periodontist – A dentist who treats diseases of the gums.
Permanent teeth – The teeth that erupt after primary teeth. Also called adult teeth.
Plaque – A sticky, colorless substance that covers the teeth after sleep or periods between brushing.
Posterior teeth – The bicuspids and molars. Also called the back teeth.
Primary teeth – A person?s first set of teeth. Also called baby teeth or temporary teeth.
Prophylaxis – The act of cleaning the teeth.
Prosthodontics – The field of dentistry that deals with artificial dental appliances.
Pulp – The inner tissues of the tooth containing blood, nerves and connective tissue.

R

Receding gum – A condition in which the gums separate from the tooth, allowing bacteria and other substances to attack the tooth?s enamel and surrounding bone.
Resin filling – An artificial filling used to restore teeth. Also called a composite filling.
Root canal – A procedure in which a tooth?s nerve is removed and an inner canal cleansed and later filled.
Root planing – Scraping or cleansing of teeth to remove heavy buildup of tartar below the gum line.

S

Sealant – A synthetic material placed on the tooth?s surface that protects the enamel and chewing surfaces.

T

TMJ – Temporomandibular joint disorder. Health problems related to the jaw joint just in front of the ear.
Tarter – A hardened substance (also called calculus) that sticks to the tooth?s surface.

V

Veneer – A laminate applied or bonded to the tooth.

W

Whitening – A process that employs special bleaching agents for restoring the color of teeth.
Wisdom tooth – Third set of molars that erupt last in adolescence.

Read What Our Patients Say
Patient Reviews
My wife and I have been coming to Dr. Herrmann since we moved to the area four years ago. We always have a great experience and have never have to sit in the waiting room. Nicole is wonderful […]
Jacob P.
All the employees were very friendly and got me in and out in a very timely manner.
Javier C.
I’ve been a patient of Dr. Desio and his associates for the past ten years. They offer great customer service, dental care and the most up to date technology and procedures. I’ve just had my […]
Garrett K.
Hygienist is best I have ever had. Front desk staff is extremely helpful and friendly
Alice B.
I highly recommend Herrmann & Desio Family Dentistry. Nicole has been my hygienist for several years, and she is fantastic! She’s very thorough, careful, and most of all friendly and so easy […]
Matthew S.
Very good.
Andrew P.
To go to the dentist here is easy and frankly, fun! I am so relaxed in the care of Donna Maffeo and Dr. Herrmann that I typically take a nap while I’m being worked on. These folks are THAT good and […]
Anonymous
Very good work. I have always had difficult teeth and they have done a great job for me with cleanings and fillings. Gentle touch and good results here.
Ken K.
I am a new client, previous dentist retired so I was looking for some local to Falls Church City. Dr. Herrmann and staff provided a welcoming environment and were very professional and honest. After […]
Donald M.
Most would agree that going to the dentist is the worst but at Dr. Herrmann & Desio it was a pleasure. From the friendly front desk staff to the excellent hygienist Niki, who left my teeth super […]
Rosana S.
Great service and excellent care.
Akeem F.
The staff is friendly and personable which makes the experience comfortable.
Rosalind J.
Great service! Appointment reminders via text message. Wouldn’t go anywhere else:
MLB T.
It’s always a pleasure to come to the offices of Hermann & Desio. I LOVE Donna and she always does such a good job. Everyone is so pleasant!
Bethia S.
I have been going to this practice for many years. Everyone on the staff always treats me as an individual, not as just another mouth to clean and check. I feel like the dental care is top-notch, as […]
Susan J.
I’ve been coming to see Drs. Hermann and Desio for over 20 years. I continue to make the trip from out of town twice each year, because I know a good thing, when I’ve found it! The entire staff […]
Anonymous
Great practice!! Highly recommend both doctors!!
Krista S.
Fantastic office! From the friendly hygienists to the most knowledgeable staff, my family and I appreciate them making it so enjoyable!!
Richard C.
Always friendly and professional, great service.
Anna O.
Dr Herrmann was thorough in examining my teeth, and took his time answering all my questions. Nicole did a great job cleaning my teeth, and provided lots of good tips on taking care of teeth. Teresa […]
Yanyang C.
Office Hours
Mon. – 8:30 AM - 5:00 PM
Tue. – 7:30 AM - 5:00 PM
Wed. – 7:30 AM - 5:00 PM
Thu. – 7:30 AM - 5:00 PM
Fri. – 7:00 AM - 2:00 PM
Sat. – Closed
Sun. – Closed
Phone: (703) 988-6938
Fax: (703) 237-7489
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For appointments, call: (703) 988-6938
Office Hours
  • Monday 8:30 AM - 5:00 PM
  • Tuesday 7:30 AM - 5:00 PM
  • Wednesday 7:30 AM - 5:00 PM
  • Thursday 7:30 AM - 5:00 PM
  • Friday 7:00 AM - 2:00 PM
  • Saturday Closed
  • Sunday Closed
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  • Phone: (703) 988-6938
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