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(pēr-ē-ŏd′ĭk) [Gr. periodikos] Recurring after definite intervals.


(pēr″ē-ō-dĭs′ĭ-tē) 1. The state of being regularly recurrent. 2. The rate of rise and fall or interruption of a unidirectional current in physical therapy.

periodic leg movements in sleep

ABBR: PLMS. Jerking or twitching of the toes, ankles, knees, or hips during sleep.


(per″ē-ō-dont′ ăl) [peri- + odont- + -al] 1. Surrounding a tooth. 2. Pert. to the periodontium. SYN: peridental.

periodontal disease

A chronic inflammatory disease of the periodontium.

 INCIDENCE: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimated in 2012 that half of all adult Americans have periodontal disease. The prevalence of the disease increases with age. The incidence is higher in men than women and more common among Mexican Americans than other populations.

 SYMPTOMS AND SIGNS: The most common initial symptom is bleeding gums, but loosening of the teeth, receding gums, abscesses in pockets between the gums and the teeth, and necrotizing ulcerative gingivitis may be present as the disease worsens.

 DIAGNOSIS: Diagnosis is based on an oral examination in which the dentist looks for plaque and tartar buildup and checks for easy bleeding. The dentist uses a probe to measure the depth of the gingival sulcus at several sites throughout the mouth to determine how severe the periodontitis is.

 PREVENTION: Daily dental hygiene (proper brushing of the teeth, use of dental floss, gum massage, and periodic removal of plaque) will help prevent periodontal disease. The American Academy of Periodontology recommends a comprehensive periodontal evaluation every year.

 IMPACT ON HEALTH: If periodontal infection is not treated, tooth loss follows.

 TREATMENT: In the early stages of the disease, curettage of plaque and calculus from the crown and root surfaces of the teeth may be the only treatment required. In more advanced stages, procedures such as gingivectomy, gingivoplasty, and correction of the bony architecture of the teeth may be necessary. Adjustment of the occlusion of the teeth and orthodontic treatment may help prevent recurrences. SEE: plaque; teeth; tooth; toothbrushing.

PATIENT CARE: Dental professionals teach the patient about the importance of proper dental care (brushing for two minutes twice a day, flossing, and regular dental examinations and prophylaxis). Patients should consult a dentist if recession of teeth from gums, drainage from the gums, or bleeding gums occur because these symptoms may indicate periodontal disease. The patient may also need medical follow-up to ascertain whether or not hypovitaminosis, blood dyscrasias, diabetes mellitus, or use of hormonal contraceptive drugs are contributing to or causing the dental problems.

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