Periodontology or periodontics (from Greek περί peri “around”; and ὀδούς odous “tooth”, genitive ὀδόντος odontos) is the specialty of dentistry that studies supporting structures of teeth, as well as 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. A person who practices this specialty is known as a periodontist.
Periodontal diseases take on many different forms but are usually a result of a coalescence of bacterial plaque biofilm accumulation of the red complex bacteria (e.g., P. gingivalis, T. forsythia, and T. denticola) 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. As of 2017, these continue to be one of the leading causes of tooth loss in adults.
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