Charting Terminology

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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


Dentists Assist Charting Xray

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.

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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 Dental Assistant program offered at our Richardson Campus.