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HDS - Oral Health and Wellness -  Dental Terms A-F

Glossary of Common Dental Terms: A-F

AAP - American Academy of Periodontology - dedicated to advancing the art and science of periodontics and improving the periodontal health of the public. Membership consists of specialists in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of diseases affecting the gums and supporting structures of the teeth and in the placement and maintenance of dental implants.

AAPD - American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry - dedicated to improving and maintaining the oral health of infants, children, adolescents, and persons with special health care needs.

ABCPD - Alliance for the Best Clinical Practices in Dentistry - an organization that encourages the development of evidence-based prevention and treatment protocols through the process of organizing focused seminars.

Abscess - acute or chronic, localized inflammation associated with tissue destruction.

ADA - American Dental Association - promotes the public's health through commitment of member dentists to provide high-quality oral health care and promotes accessible oral health care for everyone. The organization also enhances the integrity and ethics of the profession by strengthening the patient/dentist relationship and providing services through its initiatives in education, research, advocacy and the development of standards.

AGD - Academy of General Dentistry - serves the needs and represents the interests of general dentists. The Academy fosters their continued proficiency through quality continuing dental education in order to better serve the public.

Amalgam - an alloy used in direct dental restorations; a "silver filling."

Attrition - the normal wearing down of the surface of a tooth from chewing.

Baby bottle tooth decay - severe decay in baby teeth due to sleeping with a bottle of milk or juice. The drink's natural sugars combine with bacteria in the mouth to produce acid that decays teeth.

Beneficiary - see enrollee.

Bitewing Radiograph - x-rays of the top and bottom molars and pre-molars to show decay between teeth or under fillings.

Bruxism - involuntary clenching or grinding of the teeth.

Calculus - (tartar) hard deposit of mineralized material, or calcified plaque, that adheres to teeth.

Caries - tooth decay.

CMS - Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services - formally know as the Health Care Financing Administration (HCFA); a division of the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). The organization administers the Medicare, Medicaid, and Child Health Insurance Programs and helps pay the medical bills for more than 75 million beneficiaries. In conjunction with the Departments of Labor and Treasury, it helps millions of Americans and small companies obtain and keep health insurance coverage and helps eliminate discrimination based on health status for people buying health insurance.

Covered persons - see enrollee.

Covered services - service for which payment is provided under the terms of the dental benefit contract.

Crown - the artificial covering of a tooth with metal, porcelain or porcelain fused to metal; covers teeth that are weakened by decay or severely damaged or chipped.

Customary fee - the fee level determined by the administrator of a dental benefit plan from actual submitted fees for a specific dental procedure to establish the maximum benefit payable under a given plan for that specific procedure.

Deciduous Teeth - baby teeth or primary teeth.

DeltaCare/DeltaCare USA Network - see Dental Health Maintenance Organization (DHMO).

DeltaCare/DeltaCare USA Product - see Dental Health Maintenance Organization (DHMO).

Delta Dental PPO Network - a group of contracted providers who agree to provide services at pre-negotiated, reduced fees.

Delta Dental PPO Product - a preferred provider option (PPO) plan that offers lower cost advantages with a choice in the selection of a provider.

Delta Dental Premier Network - a nationwide, discounted, fee-for-service group of providers that are contracted through a Participating Agreement that stipulates the reimbursement level and administrative policies.

Delta Dental Premier Product - a nationwide, discounted, fee-for-service dental program with out-of-network protection.

Dental Health Maintenance Organization (DHMO) - a benefit program in which enrollees receive all or most treatment through the dental office where they are enrolled. The dentist receives a single monthly payment from the benefits carrier for each enrolled patient, no matter how many services that patient receives (also see DeltaCare/USA Network, DeltaCare/USA Provider).

DHHS/HHS - Department of Health and Human Services - federal department that oversees the federally funded programs that provide services such as prenatal screening, immunization, child care, nutrition, exercise, long-term care regulation and autopsies. It enables individuals, families, and communities to be healthy and secure, and to achieve social and economic well being.

DOL - Department of Labor - federal department that oversees issues relating to workplace safety and health, pensions and benefit plans, employment and other issues related to the American workplace.

DPO - a dental benefit plan in which participating dentists agree to accept a list of specific fees as the total fees for dental treatment provided (also see DeltaPreferred Option/USA Network, DeltaPreferred Option/USA Provider).

Eligible person - a person who is qualified to receive benefits under a dental benefit program.

Endentulous - having no teeth.

Endodontics - a dental specialty concerned with treatment of the root and nerve of the tooth. An endodontist is a dental specialist in this field.

Enrollee - a person who receives benefits under a dental benefit contract (also known as: beneficiary, covered person, insured, member).

ERISA - Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 - administered by the Pension and Welfare Benefits Administration (PWBA) of the Department of Labor. The Act established new standards and reporting/disclosure requirements for employer-funded pension and health benefit programs in order to address public concern that funds of private pension plans were being mismanaged and abused.

Fee-for-service - a method of paying practitioners on a service-by-service rather than a "salaried basis" (also see DeltaPremier/USA Network, DeltaPremier/USA Provider).

Fee schedule - a list of the charges established or agreed to by a dentist for specific dental services.

Fluoride - a chemical compound that prevents cavities; makes the tooth surface stronger so that teeth can resist decay.

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