Dental Terminology

Click on a letter for the list of terms beginning with that letter. This glossary contains a list of words or terms that may help you get a handle on the world of dental care.



the surface of a tooth directed toward the face (including the buccal and labial surfaces) and opposite the lingual surface. Facial surface equals buccal surface in the posterior or the labial in the anterior.

Family Deductible

a deductible that is satisfied by combined expenses of all covered family members. For example, a program with $25 deductible may limit its application to a maximum of three deductibles, or $75 for the family, regardless of the number of family members. (see Deductible.)

Fee Schedule

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


a method of paying practitioners on a service-by-service rather than a salaried or capitated basis.


a lay term used for the restoring of lost tooth structure by using materials such as metal, alloy, plastic or porcelain.

Fixed Partial Denture

a prosthetic replacement of one or more missing teeth cemented or attached to the abutment teeth or implant abutments adjacent to the space.

Flexible Benefits

a benefit program in which an employee has a choice of credits or dollars for distribution among various benefit options, e.g., health and disability insurance, dental benefits, child care, or pension benefits. (see Cafeteria Plans; Flexible Spending Account).

Flexible Spending Account

employee reimbursement account primarily funded with employee designated salary reductions. Funds are reimbursed to employee for health care (medical and/or dental), dependent care, and/or legal expenses, and are considered a nontaxable benefit.


natural opening into or through bone.


the breaking of a part, especially of a bony structure; breaking of a tooth.


Eyeglasses or spectacles come in a variety of types, but all are made of two main parts: the lenses, and the frames that hold them in place. Frames and lenses can be made from various materials to serve a range of purposes. These include improving vision, protecting against physical objects or UV light, and making a fashion statement.

Franchise Dentistry

Refers to a system for marketing a dental practice, usually under a trade name, where permitted by state laws. In return for a financial investment or other consideration, participating dentists may also receive the benefits of media advertising, a national referral system, and financial and management consultation.

Freedom of Choice

a provision in a dental benefit program that permits the insured to choose any licensed dentist to provide his or her dental care and receive full benefits under the program.


muscle fibers covered by a mucous membrane that attaches the cheek, lips and or tongue to associated dental mucosa.


the anatomic area of a multirooted tooth where the roots diverge.