abscess – infection caused by severe tooth decay, trauma or gum disease.
aggressive periodontitis – advanced form of periodontitis where bone is destroyed and rapid attachment loss is evident; occurring in normally healthy patients.
bone graft – bone that is removed from part of a patient’s body and transferred to another area; also can include bone marrow.
calculus – the hardened plaque that can form on neglected or prone teeth, commonly known as tartar.
chronic periodontitis – most common form of periodontitis; form of periodontitis where supporting tissues are inflamed, gums recede, periodontal pockets form and bone and attachment loss are progressive.
crown lengthening – procedure used to correct teeth that appear too short, or “gummy” smiles, by reshaping the gum and supporting tissues to expose more of the tooth.
dental plaque – a sticky buildup of acids and bacteria that causes tooth decay.
denture – a removable set of artificial teeth.
flap surgery – a procedure where the infection is cleaned out of a periodontal pocket through an incision in the gum. The gum flap is then repositioned to help reduce the pocket and encourage healing.
gingiva – the tissues surrounding the teeth; also known as the gum.
gingivectomy – the removal of gum tissue to eradicate a periodontal pocket.
gingivitis - inflammation of gums around the roots of the teeth.
grafts – living tissue is joined with injured tissue in order to repair a damaged area or counteract a defect.
halitosis – commonly known as bad breath.
implants – an implant permanently attached to the jawbone that replaces a missing tooth or teeth.
maintenance therapy – a continuing program used to help prevent further infection from occurring in patients who have already received periodontal treatment.
osseointegration – the three to six-month process where the bone attaches to a dental implant.
osseous surgery – any surgery pertaining to the bone supporting the teeth.
periodontal ligament – tissue that affixes the tooth to the bone.
periodontal pocket – a space formed when the gums pull away from the teeth; this occurs when plaque breaks down the gum and supporting tissues below the gumline.
periodontics – an area of dentistry that specializes in the treatment of the teeth’s supporting tissues and placement and preservation of dental implants.
periodontist – a general dentist who specializes in the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of periodontal disease, as well as dental implant placement; additional training of up to three years after dental school is required for this specialization.
regeneration – procedure used to regenerate lost periodontal structures, such as bone, ligaments and connective tissue attachments, that support the teeth.
ridge augmentation – procedure used to repair a defect in the bony ridge.
root planing – the process of smoothing the root of the tooth so any remaining tartar is removed and clearing away any rough areas that bacteria below the gumline thrive in.
root scaling – process involving the scraping and removal of plaque and tartar from the tooth either above or below the gumline.
sedation dentistry – refers to the use of sedation during dental treatment; endorsed by the American Dental Association as an effective way to make many patients comfortable during their dental visit.