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Terminology Every Dental Hygienist Should Know

terminology every dental hygienist should know, dental hygiene programs, dental hygiene trainingBy studying dental hygiene, students learn about the mouth, teeth and gums, how to perform a proper teeth cleaning, how to take x-rays of the teeth, and to improve certain skills and characteristics needed to be a successful dental hygienist. They also learn proper medical and dental terminology that they’ll use on a daily basis.

Dental hygienists may need to know and understand the following terminologies and definitions:

  • Abscess: infection of a tooth, bone or soft tissue.
  • Abutment: a tooth on either side of a missing tooth that supports a fixed or removable bridge.
  • Alveolar bone: the bone that surrounds the tooth root and keeps it in place; when a person loses this bone, they most likely have severe gum disease.
  • Calculus: hard, calcium-like deposits that form on teeth; this is usually caused by large amounts of plaque build-up and is more commonly known as tartar.
  • Gingiva: the soft tissue surrounding the base of a tooth.
  • Halitosis: foul-smelling breath caused by oral or gastrointestinal conditions.
  • Hypersensitivity: a sudden, sharp, painful reaction felt by patients when their teeth are exposed to hot, cold, sweet, sour or salty stimuli.
  • Impression: a mold made of the teeth and soft tissues.
  • Occlusion: the relationship between the upper and lower teeth when the mouth is closed.
  • Prophylaxis: cleaning of the teeth in an effort to prevent gum disease and tooth decay and promote oral health.

Dental Hygiene Training

For students interested in becoming a dental hygienist, learning all dental terminology and improving skills needed for this exciting field are crucial. Specific skills such as communication and interpersonal skills, teamwork skills and manual dexterity skills, should be focused on since hygienists spend the majority of their work day using their hands and working with patients and other medical professionals.

Students thinking about pursuing this field can also gain assurance from knowing about the growing demand for dental hygienists across the country. As one of the fastest-growing entry-level healthcare fields, dental hygiene is a great option for those interested.

Further Reading

Want to learn more about dental hygiene? Check out these recent articles:


Would you enjoy working as a dental hygienist? Are you ready to better your future with new career opportunities? Learn more about becoming a dental hygienist or find a dental hygiene program at a healthcare school near you today.