Chapter 5 Key Terms Dental prophylaxis



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Chapter 5 Key Terms

Dental prophylaxis- a procedure that includes oral hygiene care, as well as techniques to prevent disease and remove plaque and calculus from the teeth above and beneath the gumline before periodontitis has occurred.1

Calculus removal forceps- instrument used for removal of large deposits of calculus from the tooth surface at the beginning of a procedure.4

Sonic scalers- a power scaler driven by compressed air and the tip oscillates at a sonic frequency.

Ultrasonic scalers- a power scaler driven by a micromotor with a tip that oscillates at an ultrasonic frequency.

Rotary scalers- rotoburs fit in a high-speed handpiece (HSHP)to remove the calculus: known to cause pain and significant enamel damage. 

Periodontal probe- an instrument used to measure the gingival sulcus, as well as, periodontal pocket depth, determine gingival inflammation, furcation exposure, tooth mobility and measure the size of oral lesions.

Explorer- is a sharp ended instrument that is straight or curved. It is used to check for caries, enamel or dentin defects, fractures, tooth resorption, and subgingival calculus. 

Dental mirrors- are instsruments used to better visualize palatal, lingual and distal molar surfaces as well as reflect light onto surfaces, and retract soft tissue.

Dental polishing- removes plaque and smoothes enamel surfaces after scaling.

Hand scalers- are sharp tipped instruments used for removal of supragingival calculus.

Hand curettes- are blunt toed instruments used for the removal of subgingival calculus: can also be used supragingivally.

Dental record- is a legal document and is an essential part of a dental procedure. It is utilized to document information about the patient, pathology and procedure.

Anatomical system- a form of tooth identification that uses a combination of letters and numbers to identify each tooth.

Triadan system- a form of tooth identification that uses a combination of three numbers to identify each tooth.

Oral exam- is intended to determine if there is any presence of disease and if so, the type, extent and severity.

Periodontal exam- is intended to determine if there is a presence of periodontal disease and if so, the extent and severity.

Plaque index- is a measurement of plaque detected on the surface of each tooth.

Calculus index- is a measurement of calculus detected on the surface of each tooth.

Gingivitis index- is a measurement of the gingivitis detected.

Gingival recession- the drawing back of the gingivae from the necks of the teeth, with exposure of root surfaces.(Measured in millimeters)

Bone loss- loss of bone supporting the teeth.

Total attachment loss- a reduction in the connective tissue attaching the root of the tooth to the alveolar bone, characterized by recession and periodontal pocketing.(periodontal pocketing + recession = attachment loss)

Tooth mobility- is the measurement of how much a tooth moves from its axis in millimeters. (Stages 0-3)

Furcation- is the area where the roots of multirooted teeth come together. In a healthy mouth, the furcations are not visible or significantly palpable on exam.

Furcation exposure- is a result of periodontal disease causing gingival recession and bone loss around the teeth. (Stages 1-3)

Retained/Persistent deciduous teeth-occurs when the deciduous tooth does not shed when the permanent tooth has erupted.

Wear- is characterized as the loss of enamel and dentin from repeated friction on the teeth.18

Abrasion- is wear that results from an external source. Attrition- is wear that is a result of a malocclusion causing teeth to have abnormal contact with each other.

Enamel Hypoplasia- is loss of enamel on the tooth surface. This can be the result of trauma to the developing tooth bud or when a fever occurs during tooth development.

Tooth fracture-is the loss of dental hard(enamel and/or dentin) tissues as a result of trauma.

Pulpal hemorrhage- is bleeding that has occurred within the pulp canal causing increased pressure on the nerves and blood supply.

Luxation- a tooth that is loose in the socket and may have obvious areas of torn gingiva and fractured alveolar bone.

Avulsion- a tooth that is out of the socket and may have obvious torn gingiva and alveolar bone fractures.

Tooth resorption- is a process by which all or part of a tooth structure is lost due to the destruction of mineralized tissue, mediated by odontoclasts.

Dental caries- demineralization of the hard dental tissues from acids created in plaque.

Fulcrum- is a stabilizing support point within the mouth against which a finger is placed for leverage during treatment in order to ensure precise control of the instrument; usually a tooth that is in close proximity to the one being treated.

Cavitation- occurs when the water exits the tip of the instrument as a mist. Within the mist are tiny bubbles that collapse, releasing energy that serves to flush away calculus, plaque and debris as well as destroy bacteria through tearing of the cell walls.3,11 

Modified pen grasp- A method for holding instruments that is designed to enhance control and sensitivity. The grasp consists of the tips of the thumb, index finger, and middle finger holding the instrument while the ring finger provides support.

Disclosing solution- is a red dye that attaches to calculus and plaque.

Dental home care- is to maintain a healthy oral environment or to prevent deterioration of previously existing periodontal disease.24

Active home care- is brushing, oral rinsing or applying of barrier sealants to reduce plaque and tarter formation.

Passive home care- is using diets, treats, chews, water additives and dental sealants to reduce plaque and tarter formation.


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