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Abbreviations are one of the most commonly used elements in both written and oral medical communication. This article provides a contribution to the issue of handling abbreviations in dental terminology. Abbreviation (lat. brevis - short) is understood as a shortened form of a word or phrase, spelled variously according to the rules of a particular language. One of the aims of learning dental/medical terminology is making difficult, long, impressive-looking words understandable. To achieve this we have divided dental terminology abbreviations into following groups: The Parts of a Tooth: D: distal surface, the part of the tooth farthest from the mid-line, or center front of the mouth. M: mesial tooth surface, the part of the tooth closest to the mid-line. B: buccal tooth surface, the part of a posterior, or back tooth, facing the cheek. L: lingual, the part of the tooth that faces the tongue. O: occlusal, the biting surface of posterior teeth. I: incisal tooth surface, the biting edge, of front teeth. F: facial tooth surface, the front side of anterior, or front, teeth. Dental Fillings: AM, or amal: amalgam filling material. C or Comp: composite tooth-colored filling material. MODL: mesio-occlusal-distal-lingual amalgam filling. IF: incisal-facial composite filling. ZOE: zinc oxide and eugenol temporary filling material, which soothes the nerve of the tooth. PFM: porcelain fused to metal crown or bridge. PVC: porcelain veneer crowns, made of porcelain with no metal. FGC: full gold crown. PV, or Ven: porcelain veneers, only for the facial surface of the tooth. Copalite: copal varnish used as an insulator in the tooth before a silver filling is placed. Dycal: calcium hydroxide, used under fillings to help restore secondary dentin. FGI: full gold inlay, involving a surface between the teeth. FGO: full gold inlay, does not involve a surface between the teeth. Other Procedures: RCT: root canal therapy. EXT: extraction, or removal of a tooth. RT EXTS: root tip removal. Surg EXTS: surgical removal of teeth. RPC: root planing and curettage, deep cleaning of the gums. Prophy: prophylaxis, teeth cleaning. SLT: sealants, on children’s teeth. FUD: full upper denture. FLD: full lower denture. PLD: partial lower denture. PUD: partial upper denture. FLIP: flipper, or temporary partial denture. Pro Flo: prophylaxis, with fluoride. Top: topical anesthetic. Cat-gut: dissolvable sutures. Silk: silk sutures. Premed: patient premedicated with prophylactic antibiotic for dental treatment. ANUG: acute necrotizing ulcerative gingivitis, basically gangrene of the gum tissue. Apico: apicoectomy, the surgical snipping off of root tips when contamination remains after root canal. BU AMAL: Amalgam build-up on a tooth that has broken down; it will eventually require a crown to restore it. Medications and Miscellaneous:. Top: topical anesthetic gel used to numb the place to be injected. Bard Parker: scalpel to flap tissue. Perio: periodontal disease. FMX: full-mouth x-rays. PA: periapical x-ray of one tooth. BWX: bite wing x-rays. Pano: panoramic, x-ray of full mouth. Hyg: the patient’s oral hygiene. FL: fluoride given to children and adults after a prophy; it could be stannous fluoride or acidulated phosphate. The widespread popularity of abbreviations is doubtless due to the historical tradition of the language of medicine, but also the economy in space and time they provide, so much needed in many medical emergency situations. Additionally, abridging enables medical professionals to code the true meaning of their utterances, making the content inaccessible to the patient, which at times is advisable for ethical reasons.

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