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Periodontology or Periodontics (from Greek περί peri "around"; and ὀδούς odous "tooth", genitive ὀδόντος odontos) is the specialty 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. A professional who practices this specialty field of dentistry is known as a periodontist.
Periodontal diseases take on many different forms but are usually a result of a coalescence of bacterial plaque biofilm accumulation of the red complex bacteria (egs. include P. gingivalis, T. forsythus, and T. denticola) of the gingiva and teeth, combined with host immuno-inflammatory mechanisms and other risk factors which lead to destruction of the supporting bone around natural teeth. Untreated, these diseases lead to alveolar bone loss and tooth loss and, to date, continue to be the leading cause of tooth loss in adults.
Before applying to any postgraduate training program in periodontology one must first complete a dental degree.
Australian programs are accredited by the Australian Dental Council (ADC) and are 3 years in length and culminate with either a Master degree (MDS) or a Doctor of Clinical Dentistry degree (DClinDent). Fellowship can then be obtained with the Royal Australasian College of Dental Surgeons, FRACDS (Perio).
Canadian programs are accredited by the (CDAC) and are a minimum of three years in length and usually culminate with a master (MSc or MDent) degree. Graduates are then eligible to sit for the Fellowship exams with the Royal College of Dentists of Canada (FRCD (C)).
Periodontics is offered as a specialization field of dentistry in India. Periodontists attend a Master of Dental Surgery (M.D.S) program affiliated with dental schools in India. The minimum qualification required for the M.D.S degree is a Bachelor of Dental Surgery (B.D.S) degree.
The British Society of periodontology exists to promote the art and science of periodontology. Their membership includes specialist practitioners, periodontists, general dentists, consultants and trainees in restorative dentistry, clinical academics, dental hygienists and therapists, specialist trainees in periodontology and many others.
Specialist training in periodontics in the UK is either a three year full time or four years at three days per week. At the end of the training, candidates are awarded a Master of Clinical Dentistry (MClinDent) and a membership in restorative dentistry at one of the Royal College of Surgeons (MRD RCS) before being entered on the specialist list held by the General Dental Council.
The American Dental Association (CODA) accredited programs are a minimum of three years in length. According to the American Academy of Periodontology, U.S.-trained periodontists are specialists in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of periodontal diseases and oral inflammation, and in the placement and maintenance of dental implants. Following successful completion of post-graduate training a periodontist becomes Board eligible for the American Board of Periodontology examination. Successful completion of board certification results in Diplomate status in the American Board of Periodontology.