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Professional Dental Terminology for the Dental Assistant and Hygienist

Course Number: 542


scaling – Removing deposits from the teeth using scaling or ultrasonic instruments. Typically, this is done by the dental hygienist.

sinus lift – A process usually done in the placement of a dental implant in the maxillary posterior area where the sinus has dropped down into the space previous occupied by the lost tooth. An instrument is used to inject bone and subsequently lift the sinus up to provide enough bone in the area to place the implant.

stannous fluoride – A type of fluoride that is used in some toothpastes and mouth rinses.

stippled – Pebbly look. Looks like orange peel texture.

subgingival – Below the gingival margin.

sulcus – A ditch like area between the gingival margin and the base of the pocket that is not attached to the tooth.

sulcular – Within the sulcus.

supragingival – Above the gingival margin.

surgical therapy (periodontal) – Treatment for periodontal disease which can include, but is not limited to creating a flap in the gingiva to expose the root and bone around the tooth to remove diseased tissues. It can also include removing gingiva tissues.

tooth whitening (bleaching) – Use of hydrogen or carbamide peroxides to penetrate the enamel rods and bleach out stains in the teeth. This can be done with in-home products or in the dental office (often enhanced with stronger solutions and lasers or lights).

veneer – An esthetic restoration that covers the facial portion of the tooth.

white spot lesion – The first step in the demineralization of the enamel in the decay process. At this point, the lesion can be re-mineralized and the decay process stopped through means such as fluoride treatments.

wisdom teeth – Third molars.