The Complete Glossary of Dental Terminologies

ida smiles dental glossary

Regardless of whether you are a dental assistant, a dentist, a technician, or a hygienist, we must all understand the different terminology and language that are being used. Not only does it ensure absolute clarity in our communications, but it can also prevent errors and help avoid any misunderstandings too.

Because of this, we wanted to create a comprehensive glossary of the common terminology that is used in dental laboratories and share this with our clients to help them better understand the language that we use daily. Some of these terms refer to processes and others to products. But they are all frequently used across our dental lab, and in communications with our Dentists and Clients.

We hope that it helps you better understand some of the terminologies that we use regularly in our Dental labs in Tulsa.

A Guide to Dental Laboratory Terminology



This either refers to the implant or natural tooth that remains and which stabilizes and supports the prosthesis. There are usually three types of abutments we will refer to;

  • Abutment-Custom
    This post is custom-made and typically only used in scenarios where a prefab is unable to be utilized.
  • Abutment-PreFab
    This post is machine-manufactured and is typically attached to the ‘superior’ or ‘protruding’ part of the dental implant.
  • Abutment-UCLA
    Also known as a castable abutment, this is a cast component that is typically utilized in order to make a customized abutment for a prosthesis.


This is a type of device that imitates the actions of a joint; more specifically, it replicates the movements of the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) and the mandibles.

Blow Torch

As with many other industries, this used chemical fuels or compressed gas with this heated device in order to melt various alloys for casting.


Another type of device for heating that is used to heat an object externally, such as a Bunsen Burner; it is used in a dental laboratory for heating baseplate wax sheets for models or to heat wax for carving.

Casting Machine

This is a type of centrifugal spin device that utilized to force the melted alloy into an investment ring.

Curing Unit

This type of device is utilized for the curing or completion of the polymerization process of acrylics. It can use either a light-curing unit or pressurized heat for various substances and for bonding materials.


These are brittle and hard materials that are formed by mixing liquid and powder together. They can be either acid-based or resin cements.

Dust Collector

This is a suction-powered unit, used to remove acrylic dust and gypsum from the lab area.

Denture Base

This is the acrylic part of the denture which fits over and covers the alveolar ridge (gum) and is pink in color.

Denture Flange

This is an extension of the denture that goes over the posterior anatomy. When the underlying bone and gums have been resorbed away, this is used to offer support for the cheeks and lips by way of stabilization.

Dowel Pin

This is a tapered brass post which, when the stone is poured, gets placed into the die. During the carving and waxing of the pattern, this is utilized as the handle of the die.

Electroplating Unit

This is a type of electronic device that can apply various alloy materials to specific surface objects.


This is the skeletal structure of the partial prosthesis, to which the artificial teeth and acrylic materials are applied.

Fixed Bridge

A Prosthesis that replaces either one or more than one missing teeth. It will typically involve adjoining teeth to space, and is known as a crown and bridge prosthesis.

Fixed Prosthesis

This is a dental prosthesis that is both prepped and cemented onto or into the teeth.


This is a protective agent that is used during the heating process. It provides protection to the alloy from oxidation.

High Metal Alloys

These refer to a group of alloys that have a composition of over 60% noble metal (palladium, gold, platinum), and where more than 40% is gold.


This is cast restoration which sits on the inside of tooth cusps. It is designed to fit in a section of the occlusal surface and the tooth preparation of the proximal walls.


This is a mixture of silica, gypsum, and a reducing-agent substance that is prepped to maintain the wax pattern shape throughout the casting process. Once mixed, it is then placed into the ring to set, and then harden.

Hydrocolloid Conditioning Machine

This is a type of heating device that utilizes water in order to prep and condition the reversible hydrocolloid materials for the impressions. There are three separate compartments that deliver graduated heated water baths.


This is an electrical motor that connects to various dental appliances for the smoothing, shaping, and sanding of materials.

Lateral Excursion

This is the sliding position of the mandible while in occlusions from side-to-side.

Maryland Bridge

This can be used in either the posterior or anterior area; it is a prepared resin-retained prosthesis the utilizes a bonding process to hold any adjacent teeth.

Model Trimmer

A grinding device which is utilized to trim or remove the excess gypsum of a diagnostic cast for articulator placement, or for a model that can be used as a visual record of mouth conditions for the purpose of planning treatment or patient educational reasons.


Also referred to as muscle trimming; this is simply the shaping of the impression substances over the edges of a tray and is done by hand.

Noble Alloys

These are alloys with a minimum noble metal content of 25%


Also known as base metals, they have a noble metal content of under 25%. In many cases, they will have a large content of cobalt, nickel, beryllium, or chromium.


Designed to fit on the gingiva and bony ridge, this acrylic denture will remain attached to any implants or remaining teeth.


This is a cast restoration that covers over one of the teeth cusps or more. It is made to fit some or all of the occlusal surface along with the tooth preparation of the proximal walls.

Occlusal Rims

This wax block is positioned over the residual ridge of a plate, and it placed on baseplate; these rims are utilized during a denture teeth placement while being mounted atop the articulator.


This is an acronym for porcelain fused to metal. It is a type of dental crown that has a metal shell with a veneer of porcelain fused to it in an oven at a high heat. The metal gives it a high level of strength, while the porcelain delivers a tooth-like appearance, making it ideal for restorations of the front teeth.

Porcelain Jacket Crown

Also known as PJC, this is a ceramic and thin metal veneered crown for the anterior tooth.

Post and Cure

This is a specific type of dental restoration that is used when there is no longer an adequate structure of the tooth in place to support a typically traditional restoration.


This term relates to the mandible’s position being as far posterior while it is in occlusion.

Smile Line

When a patient is smiling, this refers to the amount of denture tooth space that can be seen.


This is the joining of a number of metals by the fusion of an intermediate alloy.


This is the mesh extension of the resting framework that sits on the alveolar ridge that is typically coated with a pink acrylic material in order to resemble oral tissues.

Three-Quarter Crown

This is a cast restoration that gets applied to a tooth that is prepared on all of the surfaces except for the facial service.


This is a very fine, tooth-colored shell that is applied to the facial surface of the teeth.


This is a small-size table model appliance that has a platform for holding the newly mixed gypsum to shake or vibrate the bubbles of air to the surface of the mixture.

Wax Pattern

This is an exact wax replica of the prosthesis, which is to be completed. It is typically prepared with the melting of wax on the die and is then carved into proportion. This pattern is encased in a gypsum product and then melted out in order to leave a shape or form for the casting of the alloy reproduction.

Wax Elimination

This is the process of heating or burning out the wax pattern from inside the investment materials once it has hardened. It is carried out in a laboratory furnace and will leave a resultant void in the shape or form of the wax pattern.

Working Days

This is the total amount of time that is needed for a laboratory in order to complete the prescription.


This is a type of dental ceramic that is white in color and used in the fabrication of dental prosthetics.

Can you help us on our quest to compile the most comprehensive list of dental laboratory terminology, or is there a term you’ve heard that you want us to explain?

Please drop a comment below and help us create a record-breaking glossary of dental laboratory terminology.


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The United States Department of Health and Human Services (HSS) drafted the Privacy Rule to allow for no interruption or interference with respect to the sharing of data between healthcare providers for the treatment of their patients. Under the Privacy Rule for dental laboratory services that are provided by our lab in accordance with your prescriptions, a Business Associate Agreement is not required.

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