Definition of Periodontitis

Reviewed on 3/29/2021

Periodontitis: Gum disease. The word "periodontitis" literally means "inflammation around the tooth."

Periodontitis and all periodontal diseases are bacterial infections that destroy the attachment fibers and supporting bone that hold the teeth in the mouth. Left untreated, these diseases can lead to tooth loss. The main cause of periodontal disease is a bacterial plaque, a sticky, colorless film that constantly forms on teeth.

Periodontics is the branch of dentistry concerned with the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of diseases affecting the gums and supporting structures of the teeth. Periodontists are also expert in the placement and maintenance of dental implants. Periodontics is one of the 8 dental specialties recognized by the American Dental Association.


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