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The field of dentistry that deals with the study of diseases and conditions affecting the supporting structures of a tooth is known as periodontics or periodontology. The supporting structures of a tooth are called periodontium, and it consists of the gums, alveolar bone, cementum, and the periodontal ligament. A dentist who practices this dental specialty is called a periodontist.
The diseases affecting the periodontium are known as periodontal diseases. Periodontal diseases are caused due to the accumulation of bacterial plaque (soft and white deposits) on the gums and teeth. This plaque initiates an inflammatory reaction, which results in the alveolar bone, that is the bone supporting the teeth gets destroyed resulting in tooth loss. The inflammation of the periodontium is called as periodontitis.
The symptoms of periodontal diseases are bleeding from gums, loose teeth, receding gums, swollen and red gums, and pain in teeth on biting. Periodontal diseases should not be taken lightly, as it may start as painless bleeding from the gums which might lead to bone and tooth loss. To avoid periodontal diseases, you should get your teeth cleaned (scaling) by a periodontist every 6 months. In advanced cases, the periodontist also performs gum graft surgery, bone grafting, dental pocket reduction, and other regenerative procedures.
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