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Dental Dictionary

Through our Website, we have mentioned many services, procedures, and products. For your convenience, Dr. Chambers has defined a number of terms in this dental dictionary. If you see a phrase or a word on our Website that isn’t defined here, call our Bresham dental practice at 503.665.9737 for more information.


An amalgam is a mixture of silver, mercury, and other metals used to fill cavities in teeth. More and more people are opting for white resin fillings or porcelain inlays instead of this treatment. If you want to replace your unsightly silver fillings, schedule a consultation with Dr. Chambers.


Bleaching (also called teeth whitening) allows patients to safely lighten the color of their teeth. During a bleaching session, a chemical solution is placed on the surface of your natural teeth to remove stains or other discolorations. If you have crowns or porcelain veneers, bleaching will not change their color. The effects of the bleaching are semi-permanent (only some of the color change is permanent), and patients need to maintain a healthy smile for the best results. Dentists can use a variety of methods, from gel solutions and trays to laser light, to bleach teeth.

Bleaching Trays

A bleaching tray is a clear, custom-fitted mouth appliance in which you place bleaching solution. Most dentists offer trays as a method to bleach your teeth at home. Dr. Chambers will take impressions of your upper and lower teeth to create the trays and give you a kit with everything you need for professional-grade home bleaching.

Many people prefer to use bleaching trays since they are convenient and easy to use. To achieve the best results, follow the dentists’ recommendations closely. In most cases, he will recommend that you wear the trays for an hour a day for one to two weeks. You will notice the bleaching effects immediately. For more information, see bleaching.

Bonded Bridge

A bonded bridge bonds a replacement tooth to natural, healthy teeth. In most cases, this ia bonded bridge replaces missing front teeth, although it can replace back teeth. For more information, see bridges.


Bonding (also called composite bonding) is a long-lasting, tooth-colored composite resin placed in a cavity or on the surface of the tooth. Dr. Chambers uses bonding to fill cavities, cover broken, sensitive, or open areas on a tooth, mask imperfections, such as discoloration, and change the size of your teeth.

In some situations, Dr. Chambers may discuss bonding as an alternative to applying porcelain veneers. Bonding is quicker, more immediate, and less expensive than porcelain veneers, but it is not as durable or long-lasting. For more information on veneers, see porcelain veneers.


A bridge is a set of porcelain teeth that replace missing teeth. When Dr. Chambers applies a bridge, he places support crowns on healthy teeth on each side of the missing teeth, and then anchors the bridge to those crowns. The result is a healthy-looking smile without gaps.

While bridges help you have a beautiful smile, Dr. Chambers may also recommend them to stabilize your bite, prevent gum disease, and keep your natural teeth from drifting out of position. He may also recommend applying a bonded bridge or a fixed bridge to replace missing teeth.


A composite is a natural-looking resin used in tooth-colored fillings and bonding. It is also used to attach porcelain crowns and porcelain veneers.

Crown Lengthening

Crown lengthening adjusts or moves the gum line to improve the appearance of a smile. Dr. Chambers may suggest this procedure if you flash more gum than teeth when you smile or if your teeth look asymmetrical, too small, overly wide, or too short. Crown lengthening is sometimes called a gum lift or gum recontouring.


A crown is a tooth-shaped restoration that completely covers a natural tooth from the gum line. Crowns strengthen teeth and return their original shape. Dr. Chambers may recommend crowns if you have bite problems, cracks or fractures, or need to improve the appearance of a tooth. Before a crown can be applied, Dr. Chambers will create an impression of the tooth from which our lab will craft an all-ceramic crown.

Dental Implants

A dental implant is a titanium screw that used as an artificial substitute for tooth roots to anchor a single crown, bridge, or denture in your mouth. The implant is placed in your jawbone by a specialist who has extensive implant training. In most procedures, the implant is placed during one appointment, and after it heals, the crown, bridge, or denture is applied. Since everyone is different, Dr. Chambers will need to evaluate your mouth to determine if an implant is right for you.


A diastema is a gap or space between teeth. This can sometimes be made less noticeable with orthodontics, crowns, or porcelain veneers.

Fixed Bridge

A fixed bridge bonds a replacement tooth to healthy teeth and/or dental implants. It can replace one to ten teeth. For more information, see bridges.

Fluoride Treatments

Fluoride treatments can replace lost minerals in your tooth enamel and coat your teeth, blocking cavities and stopping sensitivity. Fluoride treatments can also stop bleeding gums and inhibit the progress of gum disease. If you wear dentures or partial dentures, fluoride treatments prevent bad breath and ease gum irritation. For patients with crowns, bridges, or dental implants, fluoride treatments block plaque formulation and help protect the devices from damage or failure. If you wear braces, fluoride treatments help control tooth decalcification.


Gingiva is another term for gums.


A gingivectomy (or gingivoplasty) is a procedure in which the gum tissue is sculpted around your teeth to create a more aesthetic gum line or to treat periodontal disease. Dr. Chambers may suggest this procedure if you flash more gum than teeth when you smile or if your teeth look asymmetrical, too small, overly wide, or too short. Unlike crown lengthening, gingivectomy involves only the gum tissue.


A gingivoplasty is a procedure where the gum tissue is sculpted around your teeth to create a more aesthetic gum line.

Golden Proportions

The Golden Proportions are a set of height to width ratio guidelines for teeth. Dr. Chambers will size your teeth using these guidelines when you are undergoing a smile makeover.

Gum Disease

Gum disease (also called periodontal disease) is an inflammation in the gums and other tissues that surround your teeth. Since the early stages of gum disease aren’t painful, many patients forego treatment. That can be a big mistake since gum disease is treatable in its early stages. Many dentists are particularly concerned by gum disease since it has been linked to cardiovascular disease, diabetes, strokes, and premature low-weight babies. If you have gum disease, Dr. Chambers can treat the problem and help you maintain good dental health.

Gum Lift

A gum lift is also called a crown lengthening. This procedure adjusts or moves the gum line to improve the appearance of a smile. For more information, see crown lengthening.

Gum Recontouring

Gum recontouring is also called a crown lengthening. This procedure adjusts or moves the gum line to improve the appearance of a smile. For more information, see crown lengthening.


An inlay is a natural-looking filling shaped to fit the space where a cavity was removed. Dr. Chambers may suggest inlays if a tooth cannot hold a filling. Inlays can be made of composite or porcelain.


An onlay is a tooth-shaped restoration that completely or partially covers the natural tooth. Dr. Chambers may suggest onlays as an alternative to a crown . Onlays can be made of composite or porcelain.

Porcelain Veneers

A porcelain veneer is a thin layer of porcelain applied to the tooth surface to change the size, shape, and color of your teeth. Dr. Chambers may suggest porcelain veneers to improve the appearance of your teeth, or when your teeth have tough, bleach-resistant stains.

Smile Analysis

A smile analysis is an appointment where Dr. Chambers look at the shape of a smile, the size, the smile line, and the position of your teeth, lips, and gums when you smile. He will discuss what you want to accomplish and any concerns you may have. From there, he will suggest possible treatments and provide a custom smile design plan.


Symmetry is a quality dentists examine when they analyze your smile. When Dr. Chambers looks at your smile, he will determine if your tooth size, tooth shape, and gum contour follow the contour of your upper lip uniformly from one side of your smile to the other. If it does not, and you are interested in enhancing your smile, Dr. Chambers will discuss how to improve the symmetry of your smile.

Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMJ)

Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ) is a condition that occurs when the hinge connecting your lower and upper jaws isn’t functioning properly. When you have TMJ, you may feel a click or pop when you move your jaw. Your jaw may even stick for a moment when you move it. Dr. Chambers checks for TMJ during your examination. If you suspect you have this disorder, talk to him, and he will analyze your jaw and suggest possible treatments.

Teeth Whitening

Teeth Whitening, also called bleaching, allows patients to safely lighten the color of their teeth. For more information, see bleaching.

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Harry Chambers, DDS  â€¢  21825 SE 218th Ave., Suite A, Gresham, OR 97030  â€¢  (503) 665-9737
21825 SE Stark St., Suite A, Gresham, OR 97030 USA
Dr. Harry Chambers Harry Chambers, DDS is the dental office of Dr. Harry Chambers and is located in Gresham OR offering family and cosmetic dentistry and orthodontics. (503) 665-9737 [email protected]