Periodontology is the field of dentistry that deals with the structure around teeth: gums and bone, as well as the diseases that can affect them. The word "periodontal" litarally means "around the tooth". Periodontal diseases are gum infections that destroy the gums and supporting bone that hold your teeth in your mouth. Periodontal diseases can affect one or many teeth. The two most common and important periodontal diseases are called gingivitis and periodontitis.
Gingivitis is an inflammation in the gum tissues that causes gum to become red, tender, swolen and easy to bleed. At more advanced stages the inflammation progresses in the bone and causes attachement loss and bone loss. The disease is then called periodontitis. So periodontitis is an infection of both gum tissue and bone. In many cases teeth can start to be mobile and towards the final stages of the disease teeth can fall off the mouth.
The good news is that periodontal diseases can be treated. The treatment of gingivitis is a good professional dental cleaning together with instruction of proper oral home care: toothbrushing and dental floss in a daily basis. Gingivitis can be completely revesrible, if taken care of correctly. If left untreated, it can easily progress to the more advance and often irreversible disease of periodontitis. The treatment of periodontitis is divided in phases: the Phase I which is the conservative treatment and the Phase II which is the surgical treatment.