The word periodontal means "around the tooth". This area of dentistry specializes in treating gum disease. Many people have been diagnosed with some level of gum problems. It's possible to even have periodontal disease without apparent symptoms. Treatment is the first step in curing gum disease and preventing further breakdown. Healthy gum tissue fits tightly around a tooth like a turtleneck sweater.
Periodontal diseases are infections that affect the tissues and bone that support the teeth. As the disease progresses, this "collar" loosens and bacteria and tartar (calculus) hide deep in defects around the teeth. Tooth brushing nor flossing alone cannot remove the deposits. Left untreated, periodontal diseases will eventually lead to gum pain and bleeding, bad breath, painful chewing, teeth shifting and finally tooth loss.