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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1. Inflammation of the periodontium. 2. A chronic inflammatory disease of the periodontium occurring in response to bacterial plaque on the adjacent teeth; characterized by gingivitis, destruction of the alveolar bone and periodontal ligament, apical migration of the epithelial attachment resulting in the formation of periodontal pockets, and ultimately loosening and exfoliation of the teeth. [periodontium + G. -itis, inflammation]
- apical p. inflammation of the periodontal ligament surrounding the root apex of a tooth; usually a consequence of pulpal inflammation or necrosis.
- p. complex vertical resorption of the alveolar process with pockets of uneven depth on adjacent teeth, and with traumatic occlusion as a factor.
- juvenile p. a degenerative periodontal disease of adolescents in which the periodontal destruction is out of proportion to the local irritating factors present on the adjacent teeth; inflammatory changes become superimposed, and bone loss, migration, and extrusion are observed. Two forms are recognized: 1) localized, in which the destruction is limited to the incisors and first molars; 2) generalized, involving all of the teeth. SYN: periodontosis.
- p. simplex horizontal resorption of the alveolar process with pockets of even depth on adjacent teeth; traumatic occlusion is not a factor.
- suppurative p. p. accompanied by purulent exudate.

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peri·odon·ti·tis .per-ē-(.)ō-.dän-'tīt-əs n inflammation of the periodontium and esp. the periodontal membrane called also pericementitis

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peri·odon·ti·tis (per″e-o-don-tiґtis) [peri- + odont- + -itis] inflammatory reaction of the tissues surrounding a tooth (periodontium), usually resulting from the extension of gingival inflammation (gingivitis) into the periodontium. Periodontitis has been classified in five clinical types: prepubertal, juvenile, rapidly progressive, and adult p., and necrotizing ulcerative gingivoperiodontitis. Called also alveolodental osteoperiostitis, cementoperiostitis, and paradentitis.

Medical dictionary. 2011.

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