Basic Charting Terminology of the Dental Assistant
Ready for a career as a dental assistant? Before you begin you must learn the terminology used to do basic charting as a dental assistant. This dental assistant terminology includes parts of the teeth and mouth, dental procedures and billing terms. You will be able to master these while attending a dental assistant program at a vocational school in your area.
Primary Types of Teeth in the Mouth
A dental assistant must be able to identify the different types of teeth in the mouth:
• Incisors – single-rooted teeth located at the front of the mouth.
• Canines – cuspids, located at the corner of the arch.
• Premolars – bicuspids, a cross between canines and molars
• Molars – 4 or more cusps used for grinding food.
Parts of the Teeth & Mouth
Here is some terminology for the other parts of the teeth and mouth that a dental assistant should know about:
• Anatomic Crown – part of the tooth that is covered with enamel.
• Clinical Crown – part of the tooth that is visible in the oral cavity.
• Cervix – the place in the mouth where the crown of a tooth and its roots meet.
• Enamel – the hardest substance in the human body and covers the outer layer of each tooth.
• Dentin – hard part of the root surrounding the pulp and covered by enamel on the crown and by cementum on the root.
• Cementum – calcified connective tissue that covers the anatomic root of a tooth.
• Palate – the roof of the mouth, in between the nose and mouth.
• Apex – tapered end of each root tip
Dental Procedures and Mouth Issues
Many dental procedures and mouth issues are discussed during the course of treatment in the dentist office. Here are a few of the dental procedures and mouth issue terms a dental assistant should know:
• Impacted Tooth – a tooth that remains unerupted in the jaw.
• Gingivitis – inflammation and bleeding of the gums
• Cavity – a small hole or fissure in the tooth that may be due to decay, erosion or abrasion
• Root Canal – treatment for diseases or abscessed teeth by cleaning and disinfecting the tooth, then filling and sealing it.
• Crown – an artificial replacement that restores a missing tooth’s structure
• Dental Implant – a device specially designed to be placed surgically within the mouth to replace missing teeth.
• Dry Socket – inflammation of the tooth socket after extraction from infection or loss of blood clot.
Dentist Office Insurance Terminology
A dental assistant performs many clerical duties that involve insurance claims and coding of patient records. Here are some insurance terms a dental assistant should know before working in a dentist’s office:
• Co-Payment – the amount owed, by a patient, after the benefit plan has paid the dentist’s fee
• Deductible – the amount of money that the patient must pay for dental services before the insurance company pays benefits.
• Out-of-Pocket Costs – the amount the patient is responsible for paying above the annual maximum.
• Coverage – dental benefits covered under a dental benefit plan.
• Flexible Spending Account – employee reimbursement account used to pay for dental work pre-tax.
• HIPPA – Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) of 1996;
• a federal law that includes Administrative Simplification Provisions that require all health plans to use a standard format for electronic exchange, privacy and security of health information.
Once you master the dental assistant terminology and graduate from a vocational college you will be well on your way to a rewarding career, helping others, in the dental assisting field.
The Dental Assistant Program at PCI Health Training Center prepares a graduate to work as an entry-level Dental Assistant, Dental Receptionist, Office Manager or Dental Hygienist Assistant in a dental office, specialty practice, or dental clinic. The Dental Assistant program also includes preparation for the Dental Assistant Examination to become a Registered Dental Assistant in the State of Texas.
**PCI firmly upholds its policy of nondiscrimination. Inquiries regarding policy may be directed to TitleIXCoordinator@pcihealth.com.
For more information about our graduation rates, the median debt of students who complete the program, and other important information, please visit our website at www.pcihealth.edu/consumer-information. Dental Assistant program offered at our Richardson Campus.