The Periodontal Attachment

Periodontal literally means "around the tooth." Think of a "periscope" on a submarine "looking around." The periodontal attachment is sometimes also called the "periodontium" as if it was one tissue.

However, not a single part of the periodontium is contained within the tooth. Periodontics is a specialty in itself, apart from general dentistry.  In fact I don't even list periodontal disease in the same section as dental disease. So why are we talking about it here in the "How your teeth are built" section?

The answer lies in the fact that, even though the periodontal tissues are not a part of the actual tooth, they attach to the tooth. Things that happen to the teeth can affect the periodontal attachment, and things that happen to the periodontal tissues can affect the teeth as well. This relationship merits at least an introduction in this dental section in order for it to be complete.

 The periodontal attachment involves three tissues

  • The gingiva
  • The periodontal ligmanent
  • the cementum
  • the bone

I am not going to spend a lot of time on the last one here because bone is not a part of, or attached to, the tooth itself. It is the periodontal ligament that actually attaches to the cementum of the root, the bone is just on the other side.

Don't get me wrong the bone is the most important part of a healthy, functional tooth and we will certainly cover all four of these tissues in the section dedicated to "Periodontal Disease."




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