Dental Abbreviations

Going to the dentist should be fun. They’ve got cool gadgets, great advice, helpful professionals, and best of all, you leave the office with shiny, clean teeth. But many people dread the dentist for a variety of reasons — one of them being the confusing (and scary-sounding) terminology that dental professionals use in their assessments and charting. If you’re one of those dentist avoiders, use a list of common dental abbreviations to help ease your fear and understand more about your treatment.

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List of Commonly Used Dental Abbreviations

The medical and dental communities often use abbreviations for commonly used words, phrases, ailments, and body parts to save time and clarify charts. However, the abbreviations used in files and notes need to be universal across the entire industry or else they will do more harm than good. The last thing you'd want is for your new dentist to misinterpret notes taken by your old dentist!

Common dental abbreviations for charting include:

  • abs - Abscess
  • am or amal - Amalgam
  • ant - Anterior
  • B - Buccal
  • bilat - Bilateral
  • clm - Claim
  • comp - Composite
  • CR - Crown
  • D - Distal
  • dn pmt - Down Payment
  • endo - Endodontic
  • ext - Extraction
  • F or Fa - Facial
  • fx off - Fractured off
  • ga - Gage
  • ging - Gingivitis
  • Hg - Mercury
  • hx - History
  • IM - Intramuscular
  • imp - Impression
  • inc - Incisal
  • L or li - Lingual
  • loc - Local Anesthetic
  • M - Mesial
  • mand - Mandibular
  • max - Maxillary
  • N2O - Nitrous Oxide
  • O - Occlusal
  • perio - Periodontal
  • prophy or pro - Prophylaxis
  • quad - Quadrant
  • Rx - Prescription
  • sens - Sensitive
  • surg - Surgery
  • tb - Toothbrush
  • th - Tooth
  • top - Topical Anesthetic
  • tx or trt - Treatment

Important Dental Acronyms and Initialisms

As a patient, you may not need to know your IE from your EIE — but as a dental professional, you definitely need to know your way around common dental acronyms and initialisms. These quick terms include:

 

  • ADA - American Dental Association
  • ADL - Area Dental Laboratory
  • ASA - Acetylsalicylic Acid (or Anterior Superior Alveolar Injection)
  • BOP - Bleeding on Probing
  • B/U - Build-Up
  • BW or BWX - Bitewings
  • C/C - Complete/Complete (Complete Maxillary Denture and Complete Mandibular Denture)
  • C/P - Complete/Partial (Complete Maxillary Denture and Partial Mandibular Denture)
  • CAL - Clinical Attachment Level
  • CEJ - Cementoenamel Junction
  • CHX - Chlorhexidine
  • DB - Distobuccal
  • DC - Discontinue
  • DI - Disto-incisal
  • DK - Decay
  • DL - Distolingual
  • D/O - Dental Office
  • EIE - Extraoral Intraoral Examination
  • EOB or predet - Estimate of benefits
  • FMR - Full Mouth Radiographs
  • FPD - Fixed Partial Denture
  • IE - Infective Endocarditis
  • LA - Lower Anterior
  • LL - Lower Left Quadrant
  • MB - Mesiobuccal
  • ML - Mesiolingual
  • MID - Mesial Incisal Distal
  • MO - Mesio Occlusal
  • MOD - Mesio Occluso Distal
  • OD - Oral Diagnosis
  • OHI - Oral Hygiene Instructions
  • ORL - Otorhinolaryngology (or Otolaryngology)
  • OS - Oral Surgery
  • P/P - Partial/Partial (Partial Maxillary Denture and Partial Mandibular Denture)
  • PA - Periapical Radiograph
  • PD - Periodontal Debridement
  • PFM - Porcelain Fused to Metal
  • PMT - Periodontal Maintenance Therapy
  • PSA - Posterior Superior Alveolar Injection
  • PSR - Periodontal Screening and Recording
  • RC - Root Canal
  • RCT - Root Canal Treatment
  • RPD - Removable Partial Denture
  • SBE - Subacute Bacterial Endocarditis
  • TMD - Temporomandibular Joint Disorder
  • TMJ - Temporomandibular Joint
  • UL - Upper Left Quadrant
  • UR - Upper Right Quadrant

Chew on More Medical Terminology

Knowing the abbreviations commonly used in the dental community can benefit doctors, patients, nurses, and dental students alike. For more information on frequently used medical abbreviations and acronyms, check out:

Patient in dental office