Glossary

adiposity - Excessive accumulation of lipids in a site or organ.

ageusia - A complete loss or absence of the sense of taste sensations.

allele - Any of a series of two or more different genes that may occupy the same locus on a specific chromosome.

atypical odontalgia - Toothache-like pain for which no dental cause can be found.

arthromyalgia - Temporomandibular joint pain dysfunction syndrome (TMD).

bitter taste receptors - T2Rs detect harmful compounds including secreted bacterial products.

burning mouth syndrome (BMS) - The oral condition of the mouth is normal on clinical examination but elicits an oral burning sensation.

cell - The smallest unit of living structure capable of independent existence composed of a membrane-enclosed mass of protoplasm and containing a nucleus or nucleoid.29

chromatid - Each of the two strands formed by longitudinal duplications of a chromosome that becomes visible during prophase of mitosis or meiosis. When the two chromatids separate, each chromatid will become a chromosome.29

chromosome - Structures found in the nucleus of a cell that contains the genes.

disorder - Disturbance of function or structure, resulting from a genetic or embryologic failure in development or from exogenous factors such as poison, trauma or disease states.

dysgeusia - Alteration or distortion in the perception of taste.

dysesthesia - Burning painful sensation in the mouth.

gene - A functional unit of heredity that occupies a specific place (locus) on a chromosome is capable of reproducing itself exactly at each cell division and directs the formation of an enzyme or other protein.29,30

gene expression - The process by which the information encoded in a gene is converted into protein or some form of RNA. The DNA sequence is first transcribed into RNA and then usually, but not always, translated into protein.

genetic code - The genetic information carried by the specific DNA molecules of the chromosomes; specifically, the system whereby particular combinations of three consecutive nucleotides in a DNA molecule control the insertion of one particular amino acid in equivalent places within a protein molecule.29

genetic counseling - The educational process of informing an individual about their biological components and inheritance.

genome - All the genetic material in the chromosomes of a particular organism.

genotype - The genetic constitution of an individual.

glossopyrosis - Burning tongue.

gustation - Taste which is a chemical sense and involves taste sensations of sour, sweet, bitter, salty and umami or savory. All other flavors are combinations of the five primary taste sensations but also involve both olfactory and sensory sensations.

gustatory hair - A protrusion that originates from the taste buds and reaches the outside environment. Saliva mixes with the food or beverage and enters the taste bud through the gustatory hair. When stimulated an impulse is sent to the cerebral cortex. The brain is highly involved in the perception of taste.

hypogeusia - Gustatory hyposensitivity or the reduced ability to taste.

hypergeusia - Gustatory hypersensitivity.

neuropathic pain - Complex, chronic pain that usually is accompanied by tissue injury. The nerve fibers may be damaged, dysfunctional or injured.

nociceptors - Specialized peripheral sensory neurons. These nociceptors alert us to potentially damaging stimuli at the skin by detecting extremes in temperature and pressure, injury related chemicals, and transducing these stimuli into long-ranging electrical signals that are relayed to the higher brain centers.9

normogeusia - Normal gustatory sensitivity.

olfaction - Sense of smell.

orodynia - Painful, burning mouth.

parageusia - Changed perception of taste qualities.

phantogeusia - Perception of taste without a stimulus.

phenotype - Observable traits or characteristics of an organism produced by the individual's genes interacting with the environment. Phenotype is the immediate cause of genetic disease and the object of genetic selection. The physical appearance of an individual such as eye, hair color or general physical traits and characteristics of the person.

PROP - The PROP (6-n-prophylthioruacil) is a sensitivity test used to detect the bitter taste that the patient may or may not exhibit.

pruritis - Peculiar irritating sensation in the skin that arouses the desire to scratch.

PTC - Phenylthiocarbamide is a sensitivity test used to detect the bitter taste that the patient may or may not exhibit.

receptor cells - These cells detect taste and are referred to as gustatory receptor cells.

taste phantom - Taste with no obvious stimulus. Examples most common are bitter and metallic taste perception.

somatosensory sensations - Subjective feelings of oral sensations of sandiness, roughness or dryness in the mouth.

stomatodynia - Used as a synonym with BMS and idiopathic burning mouth.

sub-tasters - Approximately 25% of the population is known as sub-tasters. These individuals do not have a keen reaction to any taste sensation. They have no reaction to PROP when administered on a test strip. Also called a non-taster.

supertasters - Patients who have a heightened sense of taste and of smell. Supertasters have a propensity toward BMS.

syndrome - The combination of several simultaneous signs and symptoms of varying intensities associated with a particular morbid process-which together constitute the picture of a disease or inherited anomaly.

taste - Taste or gustation is a chemical sense that includes five primary tastes: sour, sweet, bitter, salty and umami (savory). All taste sensations occur throughout the mouth and may be a combination of all the five tastes.