Richard M. Orlowski, DMD

Family Dentistry

RTP Dentist

Dental Glossary


Abscess
A collection of pus that is frequently associated with pain and swelling. Abscesses are usually secondary to infection and require immediate treatment.
Amalgam
A metal filling composed of mercury, silver, tin and copper. "Silver fillings" are no longer done in most dental offices.
Anesthesia
Local anesthesia is the elimination of pain by the injection of a drug commonly referred to as "Novacaine".
Apicoectomy
The surgical removal of the end or apex of the root of a tooth.
Bad Faith Insurance Practices
The failure of an insurance company to deal fairly and in good faith with the beneficiary and as a result denies or delays appropriate benefits. Some examples of bad faith insurance practices include:evaluating claims based on standards which are significantly at variance with the standards of the community; failure to properly investigate a claim for care; and unreasonably and purposely delaying and/or withholding payments of a claim.
Benefit
The amount payable by an insurance plan toward the cost of a dental service that is covered by the plan.
Bitewing X-Ray
A type of x-ray (radiograph) used to detect cavities between the teeth and certain types of periodontal disease. Bitewings are usually taken on an annual basis.
Bleaching
The process of lightening the teeth through the application of a whitening agent. Whitening has been shown to be harmless to the teeth and is quite effective for most people.
Bonding
An option of repairing chipped, cracked or disfigured front teeth. An enamel-like material is applied to the tooth's surface, sculpted into shape and hardened with a curing light.
Bridge
Artificial teeth that are permanently cemented onto adjacent teeth to replace missing teeth.
Bruxism
The habit of grinding of the teeth often during sleep. A night guard is often used to prevent excessive wear of the teeth.
Caries
A cavity or decay in a tooth. Most often the cavity is treated by removing the decay and placing a filling in the tooth.
Cavity
See caries.
Ceramic
A non metal, porcelain-like compound used to make crowns. Ceramic crowns are preferred for a front tooth because of the cosmetic appearance.
Clenching
The clamping and pressing of the jaws and teeth together frequently associated with psychological stress or physical effort. Chronic clenching may result in damage to the teeth, jaw joints and muscles.
Complete Denture
Sometimes referred to as a "plate", a complete denture is made when all the upper or lower teeth are missing.
Composite
A tooth colored filling that is chemically bonded to the tooth.
Core Buildup
The replacement of a tooth that will serve as the foundation for a crown.
Cosmetic Dentistry
Various services (whitening, bonding, veneer, crowns) used to improve the esthetic appearance of the teeth.
Cracked Tooth Syndrome
Transient acute pain on biting caused by a crack in the tooth.
Crown
An artificial tooth covering that covers all the way around the tooth. Also called a "cap". Crowns can be made porcelain, ceramic or metal.
Cusp
The pointed prominence on the biting surface of a tooth.
Deciduous
A child's baby teeth are referred to as primary or deciduous teeth.
Denture
An artificial replacement of all or part of a person's natural teeth.
Dry Socket
Extreme pain following an extraction due to infection or loss of blood clot.
Edentulous
A person with out teeth.
Enamel
The hard calcified outer surface of a tooth.
Endodontist
A dentist who specializes in all forms of root canal treatments.
Extraction
The removal of a tooth.
Gingiva
Sometimes referred to as "gums", it is the pink soft tissue that encircles the necks of the teeth.
Gingivitis
The signs of gingivitis are redness, swelling and bleeding of the gums. If untreated can progress to more serious periodontitis (gum disease).
Impacted Tooth
An unerupted or partially erupted tooth that is positioned against another tooth or bone so that normal eruption is unlikely. This is most commonly associated with third molars or wisdom teeth.
Implant
A metal fixture placed into the bone which becomes the base for artificial tooth replacement.
Incisor
One of the front four teeth in the upper or lower jaw.
Interproximal
Between the teeth. A common location of cavities and gum disease.
Local Anesthesia
see anesthesia.
Malocclusion
The improper alignment of the teeth which can result in an overbite, underbite, or unnatural bite. Malocclusions are typically treated with orthodontics (braces).
Mandible
The lower jaw.
Maxilla
The upper jaw.
Molar
The large teeth used to grind food before swallowing it.
Mouthguard
An individually molded device worn on the teeth to help prevent injury to them.
Night Guard
A removable appliance worn while sleeping to minimize the harmful effects of bruxism (grinding).
Oral Surgeon
A dentist who specializes in the removal of teeth and various types of surgical treatment of diseases of the mouth.
Orthodontist
A dentist who specializes in straightening teeth and the treatment of the improper alignment of the teeth. Treatment is often referred to as "braces" but can include various techniques such as Invisalign (invisible braces).
Partial Denture
A removable device that replaces missing teeth. Partial dentures are held in place by wire clasps.
Pediatric Dentist
A dentist who specializes in the treatment of children. Also known as a pedodontist.
Periapical
The area surrounding the end of the tooth root.
Periodontist
A dentist who specializes in the treatment of gum diseases (periodontal disease).
Periodontitis
Advanced gum disease which results in the progressive loss of bone around the roots of the teeth.
Plaque
A bacterial substance that sticks to the teeth and is the cause of most tooth and gum disease. Plaque forms on a daily basis and is removed by regularly brushing and flossing.
Porcelain
see ceramic.
Post
A rod like device that is inserted into a tooth which has had root canal treatment. A post provides support for the tooth and serves as the foundation for a crown.
Preventative Dentistry
Aspects of dentistry concerned with promoting good oral health by preventing or reducing the onset of diseases or injuries.
Prophylaxis
Removal of plaque, calculus and stain from the teeth by a dental professional. Commonly referred to as a "cleaning".
Prosthodontist
A dentist who specializes in the replacement of missing teeth usually involving more complex situations and problems.
Pulp
The nerve and blood vessel tissue inside the inner core of the tooth.
Pulpotomy
Removal of a portion of the pulp and placement of a therapeutic dressing. Pulpotomies are most often performed on primary (baby) teeth to try to maintain the tooth's vitality.
Radiograph
An x-ray image used to detect various forms of dental and periodontal diseases.
Root Canal Treatment
Removal of the diseased or dead pulp tissue from a tooth. Endodontic therapy is another term for root canal treatment.
Scaling and Root Planing
This periodontal treatment is used to remove plaque and calculus (tartar) beneath the gum line. A local anesthetic (Novacaine) is used to prevent any discomfort.
Sealant
A resin material applied to the biting surface of the posterior teeth to prevent cavities.
Sedation
A minimally depressed level of consciousness that reduces anxiety but does not significantly depress the ability to breath or respond.
Sedative Filling
A temporary filling which contains a medication intended to relieve dental pain.
Space Maintainer
An appliance usually cemented in place that holds teeth in position when a primary (baby) tooth is prematurely lost.
Tempromandibular Joint Dysfunction (TMD or TMJD)
Commonly referred to as TMJ it is the abnormal functioning of the jaw joints and the secondary symptoms such as pain.
Treatment Plan
The sequential plan for the patient's care based on the dentists evaluation of the patient's needs and desires.
Unerupted
A tooth that has not permeated the gum tissue and moved into its proper position in the mouth.
Veneer
A thin covering made of a tooth colored material used to improve the color, size, shape or position of front teeth.
X-ray
See Radiograph.

Insurance Glossary


Allowable Charge
The maximum dollars amount on which a benefit payment is based. The allowable charge is arbitrarily set by the insurance company and is usually significantly lower than the prevailing fees.
Alternate Benefit
The insurance benefit based on a less expensive and less acceptable alternate treatment than the treatment proposed.
Assignment of Benefits
The beneficiary/patient authorizes the insurance company to forward payment directly to the dentist for services covered.
Benefit Plan
The description or summary of the dental benefits covered by the insurance plan.
Cafeteria Plan
Benefit plan in which employees select their insurance coverage from a list of options provided by their employer.
Capitation
A program in which a dentist contracts with an insurance company to provide dental services for covered patients on a per head basis rather than fee for service.
Claim
A request for payment for a service rendered filed on behalf of the patient.
Closed Panel
An insurance plan which requires its members to be treated by a limited number of dentists who have contracted with the insurance company to provide services at a reduced rate of payment.
COBRA
Benefit plan that enables employees to continue their coverage at their own expense for 18 months after their employment has terminated.
Contract Dentist
A dentist who has contractually agreed with an insurance plan to provide services at a reduced rate of payment for those services.
Copayment
The patient's portion of the dentist's fee after the insurance plan has paid.
Customary Fee
The fee arbitrarily set by an insurance plan which is used to determine the level of benefit payable. Customary fees set by insurance plans are usually lower than the usual and customary fees in the community.
Deductible
The amount of dental expense the patient must pay before the insurance company will pay any dental benefit. The deductible is usually annual but may be a one-time charge.
Dental Insurance
A plan that financially assists in the expense of treatment. Insurance plans often include the use of a deductible and/or maximum to control the cost to the insurance company.
Direct Reimbursement
A dental benefit program that is self-funded by the employer and eliminates the need for an insurance company. The individual is reimbursed for the dental expense and choice of dentist is not restricted.
Eligibility Date
The date an individual and/or dependants become eligible for benefits under a dental benefit plan.
Exclusions
Dental services not covered under a dental benefits program.
Explanation of Benefits (EOB)
A written statement to the individual from the insurance company after a claim has been reported, which indicates the charges covered or not covered by the plan.
Fees for Service
The treatment of reimbursement in which a dentist is paid a specific fee for each service rendered.
Fee Schedule
A list of the charges for specific dental services.
Flexible Spending Account
An employee reimbursement account primarily funded with employee salary reductions. Funds are reimbursed to the employee for health care and are considered a nontaxable benefit.
Indemnity Plan
A non-network dental plan that reimburses the member or dentist at a certain percentage of charges after a deductible has been satisfied. Indemnity plans place no restrictions on which dentist a member may visit.
Maximum Allowable Benefit (MAB)
The maximum dollar amount an insurance plan will pay toward an individual's dental care in a specified period of time, usually a calendar year. MAB's are typically in the range of $1,000.00 to $1,500.00 per year. The typical MAB in 1971 was $1,000.00.
Non-participating Dentist
Any dentist who does not have a contractual agreement with an insurance program to provide services at a reduced rate. Also referred to as out-of-network provider.
Pre-authorization
A process in which a dentist submits a plan for treatment and the insurance plan provides a statement that indicates at what level the treatment will be covered.
Predetermination
See pre-authorization.
Pre-existing Condition
A condition or problem of an individual which exists before enrollment in an insurance plan. Benefits are often denied for treatment of a problem (missing tooth) that existed before the individual was covered.
Reasonable and Customary
See usual and customary fee.
Usual, Customary and Reasonable (UCR) Fee Plan
A dental benefit plan that determines benefit based on "usual, customary and reasonable" fees arbitrary established by the insurance plan. UCR fees are typically well below standard fees in the community.
Waiting Period
The period between employment or enrollment in a dental plan and the date when a covered person becomes eligible for a given benefit. The waiting period for a person with an individual plan is typically much longer than an employer sponsored plan.

New Patients

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Office Hours

Appointments are avaiable

Tuesday through Friday

as early as 7:30 A.M.

Contact Us

2304 S. Miami Blvd. Suite 126

Durham, NC 27703

919-361-9600

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