Periodontics

Periodontics is the specialty of dentistry that studies supporting structures of teeth, diseases, and conditions that affect them. The supporting tissues are known as the periodontium, which includes the gingiva (gums), alveolar bone, cementum, and the periodontal ligament.

Periodontal diseases take on many different forms but are usually a result of a coalescence of bacterial plaque biofilm accumulation of the gingiva and teeth, combined with host immuno-inflammatory mechanisms and other risk factors which lead to destruction of the supporting bone around natural teeth. Untreated, these diseases lead to alveolar bone loss and tooth loss and, to date, continue to be the leading cause of tooth loss in adults.

The most common affliction is gingivitis, or gum disease. The symptoms of gingivitis are somewhat non-specific and manifest in the gum tissue as the classic signs of inflammation:

  • Swollen gums
  • Bright red or purple gums
  • Gums that are tender or painful to the touch
  • Bleeding gums or bleeding after brushing


  • Complications from gingivitis include:

  • Tooth loss
  • Recurrence of gingivitis
  • Periodontitis
  • Infection or abscess of the gingiva or the jaw bones
  • Trench mouth (bacterial infection and ulceration of the gums)
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