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Terminology Every Dental Assistant Should Know October 1, 2019

Elmsford, Westchester
Terminology Every Dental Assistant Should Know, Elmsford, New York

If you’re considering enrolling in a dental assistant school, there will be some key terms you’ll be expected to know early on in your education. While your program will likely provide an overview of most dental terms, there are some phrases and words used more frequently in certain branches of dentistry. Go in to your program prepared by familiarizing yourself with some commonly used terminology below.

A Guide to Terminology for Dental Assistants

General Dentistry

General dentistry encompasses a broad range of services and procedures, including preventive care and restorative solutions. The overarching objective of general dentistry is to help patients maintain optimal care of their natural teeth for as long as possible and to keep them functioning and looking beautiful. In dental assistant school, you’re likely to encounter the following key terms:

  • Dentin: Located beneath the enamel, dentin is the dense, hard tissue that forms the bulk of a tooth.
  • Enamel: Atop the dentin is an even harder, mineralized layer. It is semi-translucent and plays an important role in preventing decay.
  • Cavity: A cavity is a hole in the tooth caused by decay that can grow larger over time if left unaddressed.


dental assistant schoolPeriodontics or periodontology is a dentistry specialty. It deals with the supporting structures of the teeth, including the gums, as well as the conditions that can affect them. If you’re interested in periodontics, familiarize yourself with the following terms:

  • Gingiva: This is simply a medical term for the gums.
  • Alveolar Bone: The alveolar bone is the ridge of skeletal tissue containing tooth sockets along the jaw.
  • Cementum: This is the anatomical term for the layer of bony material that keeps the teeth affixed to the jaw.


Endodontists specialize in caring for the pulp of the teeth. When cavities are left unaddressed, dental disease progresses. Further, if a tooth becomes cracked, the fragile nerve system of the tooth can become compromised. Here are some important terms to know:

  • Tooth Pulp: The chamber of the tooth containing the nerve, connective tissue, and blood vessels.
  • Root Canal: A root canal treatment involves the removal of the infection from a tooth pulp, usually with the goal of preserving the integrity of the affected tooth.


If you’re considering a rewarding and fulfilling career as a dental assistant, there’s no better place to pursue an education than Westchester School for Dental Assistants in Elmsford, NY. The programs offered at this dental assistant school are designed to provide students with all of the skills, training, and education they need to find employment upon completion. Browse through course details online or call (914) 682-9001 to learn about enrollment.