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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 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.