General Dentistry
Definition: Branch of dentistry that treats all forms of dental ailments to some degree without specialization in one particular branch.

Usage: General Dentists are practitioners of dentistry who are primary dental care providers for patients of all ages.

Lay term: Gums
Alternate term: Gingival tissue. The plural for gingiva is gingivae.
Definition: The fibrous, fleshy structure covering the jawbone which, when healthy, is salmon or coral-pink color.
Usage: Infection in the gingiva increases blood flow, creating swelling and discomfort.

Gingival Abrasion
Definition: Grazing or scratching of the gingiva, which may result from the action of aggressive toothbrushing or eating hard, crusty foods.
Usage: Brushing with too much pressure over time can cause gingival abrasion.

Gingival Margin
Definition: Part of the gingiva surrounding the tooth and nearest to its crown.
Usage: The toothbrush head should be placed at about a 45-degree angle tilted toward the gingival margin, where plaque tends to accumulate.

Gingival Recession
Lay term: Receding gums
Definition: Describes the gingival margin if it migrates towards the apex of the tooth and can be measured as the distance between the cemento-enamel junction and the gingival margin.
Usage: One cause of gingival recession is brushing too hard or incorrectly over a period of time.

Gingival Sulcus
Alternate term: Gingival pocket; gingival crevice
Lay term: Gum pocket
Definition: A shallow depression between the gingival crest and the neck of the tooth.
Usage: In a healthy state, the gingival sulcus may be up to 2 mm in depth, but this deepens in periodontal disease to form a periodontal pocket.

Alternate term: Gingival inflammation
Lay term: Swollen gums
Definition: Inflammation of the gums characterized by a swollen and inflamed appearance. Gums exhibiting gingivitis will be tender and will easily bleed, especially upon probing.
Usage: Gingivitis may be reversed by good oral hygiene (toothbrushing, flossing, regular cleanings) and sometimes by the use of an antibacterial mouthwash.

Lay term: Bad breath
Definition: "Bad breath" caused by the bacterial decomposition of leftover food particles around the teeth, tooth decay, periodontal disease, bacterial buildup associated with a dry mouth, or a medical condition.
Usage: Halitosis can negatively affect social relationships and, when untreated, may lower quality of life.

Definition: The principal mineral component of teeth, bones, and calculus.
Usage: Hydroxyapatite crystals are the natural and dominant form of tooth enamel produced by humans and other mammals.

Definition: A sharp, sudden painful reaction when teeth are exposed to hot, cold, chemical, or mechanical stimuli.
Usage: Dentifrice containing desensitizing agents, such as potassium nitrate or stannous fluoride, may reduce pain associated with hypersensitivity.