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.


Imaging, Diagnostic

this would include, but is not limited to, CAT scans, MRIs, photographs, radiographs, etc.

Immediate Denture

prosthesis constructed for placement immediately after removal of remaining natural teeth.

Impacted Tooth

an unerupted or partially erupted tooth that is positioned against another tooth, bone, or soft tissue so that complete eruption is unlikely.


material inserted or grafted into tissue; dental implant - device specially designed to be placed surgically within or on the mandibular or maxillary bone as a means of providing for dental replacement; endosteal (endosseous); eposteal (subperiosteal); transosteal (transosseous).

Implantation, Tooth

placement of an artificial or natural tooth into an alveolus.

Incentive Program

a dental benefit program that pays an increasing share of the treatment cost, provided that the covered individual utilizes the benefits of the program during each incentive period (usually a year) and receives the treatment prescribed. For example, a 70%-30% copayment program in the first year of coverage may become an 80%-20% program in the second year if the subscriber visits the dentist in the first year as stipulated in the program. Most frequently, there is a corresponding percentage reduction in the programs copayment level if the covered individual fails to visit the dentist in a given year (but never below the initial copayment level).


pertaining to the biting edges of the incisor and cuspid teeth.

Incisal Angle

one of the angles formed by the junction of the incisal and the mesial or distal surfaces of an anterior tooth; called the mesioincisal and distoincisal angle respectfully.

Indemnification Schedule

see Table of Allowances.

Indemnity Plan

a dental plan where a third-party payer provides payment of an amount for specific services, regardless of the actual charges made by the provider. Payment may be made either to enrollees or, by assignment, directly to dentists. Schedule of allowances, table of allowances, or reasonable and customary plans are examples of indemnity plans.

Indirect Pulp Cap

procedure in which the nearly exposed pulp is covered with a protective dressing to protect the pulp from additional injury and to promote healing and repair via formation of secondary dentin.

Indirect Restoration

a restoration fabricated outside the mouth.

Individual Practice Association (IPA)

a legal entity organized and operated on behalf of individual participating dentists for the primary purpose of collectively entering into contracts to provide dental services to enrolled populations. Dentists may practice in their own offices and may provide care to patients not covered by the contract as well as IPA patients.


an indirect intracoronal restoration; a dental restoration made outside of the oral cavity to correspond to the form of the prepared cavity, which is then luted into the tooth.


Person covered by the program. (see Beneficiary.)


an organization that bears the financial risk for the cost of defined categories or services for a defined group of beneficiaries. (See Third Party.)

Intentional Reimplantation

the intentional removal, radicular repair and replacement of a tooth into its alveolus.

International Classification of Diseases, (ICD)

diagnostic codes designed for the classification of morbidity and mortality information for statistical purposes, and for the indexing of hospital records by disease and operations, for data storage and retrieval.


between the adjoining surfaces of adjacent teeth in the same arch.


referring to “within” the crown of a tooth.


inside the mouth.


conscious sedation see anesthesia.