2016 Glossary - 65

sounding n: serial measurement of the thickness of intraoral soft tissue in order to map the topography of
the underlying bone.
speaking space n: the dynamic air space between intraoral structures (eg, the incisal or occlusal surfaces
of the opposing teeth) during speech.
specimen n: a representative sample removed from
the whole for analysis in order to make a diagnostic
or histologic characterization.
spicule n: a slight, pointed, needlelike body, such as a
small piece of bone. In dentistry, a bony fragment
may be loose or attached to the maxilla or mandible
after a tooth extraction.
splint n: a rigid or flexible appliance that retains or
protects a displaced, fractured, or movable part in a
specific position.
splint v: (1) regarding dentistry, the connection of 2 or
more teeth into a nonmobile unit by means of fixed
or removable restorations or appliances; (2) regarding physiology, protracted muscle spasms that impede or prevent movement.
split-cast method n: (1) technique for mounting indexed casts on an articulator to facilitate their removal and replacement on the instrument in the same
relationship; (2) method of checking an articulator's
ability to accept or be adjusted to a maxillomandibular occlusal record.
split-cast mounting n: a technique of mounting casts
where the base of the dental cast is grooved and indexed to the mounting ring's base. The procedure allows for verification of the mounting accuracy, ease
of removal, and precise replacement of the casts.
split-thickness graft n: a transfer of a partial thickness
(depth-wise) skin or mucous membrane tissue composed of epithelium and a portion of the dermis to a
desired site different than the site of origin.
spontaneous fracture n: breakage of bone occurring
without any apparent external damage or trauma. It
is also called pathologic fracture. The fracture may
be caused by osteoporosis, osteosarcoma, or other
necrotic condition.
spoon denture n: an obsolete term for a claspless
maxillary interim removable dental prosthesis that

has a spoon-shaped palatal resin base. The resin
base is limited to the central portion of the palate
and therefore does not contact the lingual surfaces
of the maxillary teeth. Frequently, it is used during
periodontal treatment because the design of the
resin base does not contact the teeth, so it permits
surgical procedures and does not promote plaque
collection around the teeth.
Staphylococcus aureus n: aerobic bacteria characterized as being gram-positive and nonmotile that
presents as cocci, chains, clusters, or pairs; frequently
found in the nares, gingiva, and sputum; appears as
a white, pink, or red pleb on the skin.
Staphylococcus epidermidis n: aerobic bacteria characterized as being gram-positive, nonmotile, and
spherical in nature; frequently found in the supragingival plaque; they can cause infection in compromised hosts.
stay plate n: a temporary partial denture that is used
while a patient's gums and supporting bone are
healing after tooth removal. It replaces the missing
tooth or teeth and can help the patient with chewing and speaking until a more permanent solution
is achieved. A stay plate also helps maintain the patient's appearance and keeps the remaining teeth in
the same arch from shifting.
steam cleaning n: using pressurized steam, debris is
removed from objects; in dentistry, this process is
used to remove debris from a restoration, framework, or dental prosthesis.
stenosis (pl, stenoses) n: a narrowing in the diameter
of a passage; may occur by constriction, occlusion, or
inflammation adj, stenotic.
stent n: prosthesis used to hold grafts together or to
maintain patency of orifices, vessels, or ducts; in dentistry; a prosthetic device used to prevent movement
of hard and soft tissues to promote healing and protect from infection.
sterile adj: complete absence of all microbial life, including transmissible agents (eg, fungi, bacteria, viruses, spore forms) on a surface; contained in a fluid,
in medication, or in a compound, such as biological
culture media.
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