Dental Terminology: Periodontosis

Watch Dental Video about Periodontosis

Periodontosis is the incorrect term for a pathological inflammation of the periodontal apparatus.

The terms periodontosis, periodontal disease and periodontitis are all derived from the word “periodont.” This term describes the periodontal apparatus, i.e., the anchoring system of the teeth in the bone (paro = around, dont = tooth). The periodontal apparatus consists of:

  • the gums,
  • the bone
  • the periodontal membrane
  • and the root cement

For a long time, it was impossible to isolate bacteria from the gum pockets of patients with periodontitis because the germs were bred in an environment containing oxygen. However, these bacteria are present in the gum pockets because they have an affinity for the oxygen-poor conditions there. The false conclusion was: No bacteria, so it must be an “-osis”! It was only through molecular-biological methods that the DNA of bacteria could be proven; later, scientists were successful in breeding the bacteria under oxygen-poor conditions as well. Therefore, it is an “-itis” after all.

Parodontose ist die falsche Bezeichnung für Parodontitis


In medicine, the ending “-itis” refers to an inflammation, while “-osis” stands for a metabolic, degenerative disorder. Thus, for example, arthrosis is a degeneration of a joint. Possibly due to improper joint stress, metabolic disorders develop in the cartilage, followed by deterioration of the cartilage. Arthritis on the other hand refers to an inflammation of a joint, e.g., due to the bacterial contamination of a wound after an accident. This is not just a play on words; an inflammation requires different treatment than a degenerative disorder and a correct diagnosis is the starting point for the correct treatment.

So if your dentist tells you that you have periodontosis, you know that you aren’t talking to the right doctor! You can find more information about the topic in the video titled "Periodontitis Treatment".

Click here to see the video: Periodontosis


This post is also available in: German

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