ESL and Dental Vocabulary


ESL and dental vocabulary are two entities that converge for the second language student who is working towards a career in the field of dentistry. The challenges of pursuing a career in any medical field often stem from the complicated terminology that the industry uses. This is difficult for all students, but is obviously more of an issue for students whose native language is not English.

Internet Resources for ESL and Dental Vocabulary

ESL students will need access to many different types of resources relating to dental vocabulary in order to develop a functional competency in the speaking and writing of this field's vernacular.

The following information is intended to give the ESL student who is studying a career in dentistry a wide array of resources for understanding dental terms.

  • English For Medical Purposes Web Site: This website is specifically designed for students in health related fields. Dentistry, medicine, and nursing terms are presented in exercises intended to help students familiarize themselves with the vocabulary of their chosen profession.
  • ADA: This site from the American Dental Association provides information on dental terms. The list is organized alphabetically. Users can click on the first letter of the term they need defined to jump to that section of the glossary. This site that also contains information about careers in dentistry, events that relate to the dental field as well as animation and games.
  • Cigna: This is another excellent dental terms glossary provided by the insurance company Cigna. This website is easy to read and organized alphabetically. Simply click on the first letter of the term you need defined and the page will jump to that section.
  • WebMD: WebMD, one of the most popular health Web sites on the Internet, provides a dental terms glossary. The glossary is a bit more challenging to navigate than others as it does not allow users to jump to the first letter of the term about which they are inquiring. The site, however, has other features of interest like oral health videos, an oral health guide, information on gum disease, basic dental care, orthodontics, and common treatments for oral problems.

Books on Dental Terminology

  • Dental Terminology: This textbook by Charlene Dofka is a must have for the dental health professional. The 312-page manual comprehensively covers the lexicon of dental terminology.
  • Mosby's Dental Dictionary: Anything not covered in other texts you might have will likely be included in this text. This is an excellent resource to complete your library.
  • Clinical Practice of the Dental Hygienist: This text is in its 10th edition and is referred to as the "cornerstone of almost every dental hygienist's library." If you are studying to be a dental hygienist and don't already own this book, consider picking up a copy.

Additional Resources

Depending on your native language, you may or may not be able to find websites or books with dental vocabulary listed in both your native language and in English. Luckily, the Internet has made the translation process much more simple and effective.

Sites like Google Translate provide powerful and free translation services. At Google Translate, you can translate an entire Web page into another language, perform a translated search in which you have Google find Web sites and present them to you already translated into you native language, or use the dictionary feature which allows you to translate words from one language to another.