Periodontics or Periodontology is that branch of dental science which deals with the study of the various oral tissues supporting the teeth and the various diseases and disorders related to it. The terminology has been formed by combining two Greek words, where peri means around and adons means tooth, which together means ‘around the tooth’. The four basic kinds of tissues which make up the periodontium include the gums (Gingiva), layer covering root of tooth (Cementum), periodontal ligament and Alveolac bone.
Two types of diseases can attack these supporting structures. One is when the Gingiva or gums are attacked (Gingivitis) and the other is when the periodontal ligament, alveolac bone and the cementum undergo chronic and progressive destruction. The periodontal diseases caused due to infections by the bacteria present in the mouth. The biggest causative factor for these diseases is the formation of Dental Plaque which is nothing but soft deposits on teeth, caused by improper cleaning.
The other factors which contribute towards the dental plaque include food lodgment, improper tooth shape and size and wrong brushing habits. Few other causes are abnormal habits like thumb sucking, mouth breathing, lounge thrusting, bad food habits and some debilitating diseases viz. diabetics, mental retardation, hypertension, blood disorders, etc. Periodontal disease can attack individuals of any age and sex.
However, the worst truth surrounding this disease is that, that it is so slow in the onset and progresses in such a trouble free way that in the initial stage it is really hard to detect the symptoms or problems. The dentist who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of these periodontal diseases is known as a periodontist. The American Dental Association of the United States has included Periodontology as one of its 9 recognized dental specialties. The governing body for periodontics in the US is the American Association of Periodontology.