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Terms Associated with Dental Laboratories
Dental laboratories provide much of the equipment used by dentists in their patient care, as well as technical assistance and health care support. Experienced lab technicians work with dentists to create the best possible care for each patient. These are some of the terms associated with the equipment created in dental laboratories.
Ceramics – Many dentists prescribe ceramic products to repair or enhance a patient’s smile. These include porcelain veneers, which fit over the front of a patient’s teeth to improve their shape or color. They can often be installed in one office visit.
Bonding – The covering of a tooth surface with a composite resin to mask stains or discoloration.
Removables – Removables are dentures, or sets of false teeth than can be removed. Lab technicians custom create each set based on information supplied by the dentist.
Cap – Also called a crown, caps are covers that fit over damaged teeth.
Partials – Some patients may not require a full set of dentures. Partials are sections of teeth that are inserted between existing teeth.
Implants – An implant is an artificial tooth that takes the place of teeth that are broken, chipped or are beyond repair.
Inlay – A porcelain or gold alloy that is cemented into a tooth cavity.
Cosmetic Dentistry – A reference to any procedure that improves the patient’s appearance. Because these procedures may not have a health care component, they sometimes are not be covered by a patient’s insurance. Examples of cosmetic dentistry would include braces, crowns and tooth-whitening.
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Dental laboratories are interesting places. Many men and women - dental technicians - work around the clock in these laboratories to offer you the latest in dental technology.
Dental laboratories are full of equipment and supplies of all shapes and sizes. They often contain denture equipment. They also often contain false porcelain and ceramic teeth. Sometimes they also contain tooth implants, crowns, or veneers. And they often contain supplies like bonding glue, braces, and bridges.
All of these equipment and supplies are eventually shipped from a laboratory to your local dentist's office or clinic. Your dentist can then use these equipment and supplies to care for your teeth. He can use them, for instance, to repair your dentures. Or to repair a small, cosmetic scratch on the surface of one of your teeth. In general, he uses them to see to it that your teeth remain healthy and well cared for.
Your dentist is always handy in emergency situations, and he probably offers you a generous insurance discount, but you should always remember that he didn't pull the tools and instruments he uses out of thin air. All of his equipment and supplies come from dental laboratories, where technicians work on them day and night.
So, the next time you visit your local dentist's office, remember that his equipment came from a dental laboratory. And take a minute, if you can, to appreciate the work that went on in that laboratory to see to it that your teeth continue to look and feel great.