You may hear some shorthand or slang terms around a dental office. Hopefully, you will not hear anything like I heard once like this conversation a staff member had with a patient. "Your O-H is pretty good but we are sending you over to Ortho to get some Records and see if you need any e-x-tees. I don't see you in TPL, so I'll check Dolphin to see if your Pan is in there." What?
Abbreviations and acronyms are very common in today's society. The military tends to bring it to an art form. In the dental office, doctors and staff often forget that patients are not in the office five days a week and do not use the shorthand language understood by staff.
Here is a list of a few common abbreviations, acronyms and slang heard in some dental offices:
E-X-T: Short for dental extraction or removal of teeth
ORTHO: Orthodontics or braces
PAN: Short for a Panoramic Radiograph (x-ray)
I-R-M: Intermediate Restorative Material (a temporary or sedative filling)
PEDO: Short for Pediatric Dentistry
Computer system terms peculiar to each software such as TPL (the list of that day's patients)
FILTEC or DYRACT: Particular brands of composite (white filling) material.
O-H: Oral Hygiene (status of brushing and flossing)
This is not to mention the confusing array of dental nomenclature and terminology that is a normal part of dentistry like condensers, plastic instruments, ball burnishers, spreaders, burs and forceps. There is also a whole collection of terms we use in Pediatric Dentistry to help children understand what is going on. See my post on Pediatric Language on that subject. Hopefully your experience in our office will be one of friendly communication that is actually understood.