The periodontium is an oral structure that consists of four different components that all work together to securely hold the teeth in place. These four structures consist of the periodontal ligament, cementum, gingiva, and alveolar bone (Nield-Gehrig & Willman, 2016). The periodontal ligament is made up of connective tissue and collagen fibers, it is a layer that surrounds the root of each tooth on one side and the alveolar bone on the other.
It functions to support the tooth in the bone, provide sensory perception, provide needed nutrients for the cementum and bone, form the structures of the socket, and remodel the bone in response to other pressures (University of Pittsburgh marketing communications webteam, 2018). The cementum is mostly formed of mineralized connective tissue, the cementum lines the tooth from the CEJ and around to the apical foramen (Wilkins, Wynche, & Boyd, 2017). The cementum functions to provide attachment to the fibers located throughout the periodontal ligament, it attaches these fibers to the tooth (Wilkins, Wynche, & Boyd, 2017). The cementum also seals the tubules of the root dentin. The gingiva surrounds the necks of the teeth and is attached to the teeth and alveolar bone. It protects the structures located underneath it from the oral environment.
The gingiva is made up of free gingiva, attached gingiva, interdental gingiva, and the gingival sulcus (PubMed Health, 2017). Each component of the gingiva has its own special function. The free gingiva is what forms the soft tissue wall of the gingival sulcus, it also expands to allow for the use of a periodontal probe. The attached gingiva helps the gingival tissue to resist the mechanical forces acted upon the tissue. The interdental gingiva stops food from becoming stuck in between the teeth.
The gingival sulcus is the area between the tooth and the free gingiva (Nield-Gehrig & Willman, 2016). The alveolar bone consists of the alveolar bone proper, cortical bone, cancellous bone and periosteum. The alveolar bone is the thin layer of bone that lines the socket to surround the root off the tooth. The alveolus is the bony socket that houses the root of the tooth. The alveolar bone proper has holes that allow the flow of blood vessels to connect to the periodontal ligament space, the periodontal ligament fibers are inside of the alveolar bone proper. The cortical bone surrounds the alveolar bone proper and gives support to the tooth socket.
The cancellous bone is the bone the fills the inside of the alveolar bone it helps to support the alveolar bone proper. The periosteum is a connective tissue cover (Wilkins, Wynche, & Boyd, 2017). The extraordinary design of the periodontium allows for the distribution of the forces of mastication. The periodontium works together to keep the mouth fully functioning and unbothered by outside forces