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Periodontology or Periodontics is the speciality of dentistry that studies supporting structures of teeth, 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. Periodontitis or pyorrhea is a set of inflammatory diseases affecting the periodontium. Periodontitis involves progressive loss of the alveolar bone around the teeth, and if left untreated, can lead to the loosening and subsequent loss of teeth.
The cornerstone of successful periodontal treatment starts with establishing excellent oral hygiene. Typically, dental hygienists (or dentists) use special instruments to clean (debride) teeth and disrupt any plaque growing below the gumline. Also, it may be necessary to complete any other dental needs, such as replacement of rough, plaque-retentive restorations, closure of open contacts between teeth, and any other requirements diagnosed at the initial evaluation. In some cases of advanced periodontitis periodontal surgery may be needed to stop progressive bone loss and regenerate lost bone where possible.