Periodontology is a separate branch of dentistry that deals with prevention, diagnostics and treatment of illnesses that affect the perodontium. The periodontium is what we call the supportive tissues of teeth, including gums (gingiva), bones and periodontal ligament, and whose role is to support the teeth in the jaw.
Periodontal disease start when pathogenic bacteria are accumulated in the tissues of the mouth cavity. Build-up of plaque and tartar in the periodontal pocket (the space between gingiva and teeth) leads to chronic inflammation that destroys the supportive tissue of the teeth.
Periodontal diseases are divided into two groups: GINGIVITIS and PERIODONTITIS.
GINGIVITIS is caused by bacteria accumulating on the gingival sulcus, resulting in inflammation, redness and bleeding. People with poor oral hygiene are prone to gingivitis, and certain factors such as pregnancy, puberty, orthodontic anomalies or wearing a denture can contribute to deterioration of the clinical features of the disease.
Untreated gingivitis will lead to a progression of the bacterial infection, which moves into deeper tissue and results in PERIODONTITIS. This leads to an irreversible loss of bone followed by movement and loss of teeth. Emotional stress, smoking or systemic diseases (i.e. diabetes) can exacerbate the clinical features of the disease.