As for the GUM (also called "gingiva"), you remembered correctly that it serves
as MORE than a "covering" over the BONE. Looking at the pictures below, the
gum is thinner and looser ("alveolar mucosa") away from the "crown"-of-the-
tooth. As the gum approaches the "crown"-of-the-tooth, it becomes thick gum
(or "keratinized") and is attached to the bone (or "attached gingiva"). This mar-
gin of BONE-to-GUM attachment makes the gum a stabilized and protective
barrier for the bone.
' Yes, Yes!! Good Dog!! My tail is waggin' again! I was right! The GUM is MORE
than a "covering" over the bone! So, the root is attached to the bone--and the
gum is attached to the bone. But so far, the gum is still serving only as a "cov-
ering" on my bone. How is the gum protecting these attachments from my
spit, bacteria and other "mouth-junk"? Can't "junk" still slip down into these
attachment areas? '
You are "right on your nose" about all these components and attachments still
being open to the mouth-environment. This whole "support-system-around-
the-tooth" remains vulnerable to breakdown as long as it remains an open system. So, the thick gum folds back on itself like the skin going under a
human finger nail. Again see the above picture of the THICK GUM--and note
the free gum closest to the "crown"-of-the-tooth. This small amount of non- attached thick gum folds back on itself and attaches back to the tooth (also
see picture below for clarification). This GUM-to-TOOTH attachment (or "junc-
tional epithelium") "seals" the whole "support-system-around-the-tooth, and
makes the system closed and protected. This whole closed "support-system-
around-the-tooth" IS THE PERIO-DONTAL ASPECT OF THE TOOTH!
' Let me do a simple "doggy-summary". The TOOTH "stands" in the bone. The
ROOT is attached to the bone. The BONE is attached to the gum. The GUM
attaches back to the tooth. Everything in this closed "support-system-
around-the-tooth" IS THE PERIO-DONTAL ASPECT OF MY TOOTH. My
TOOTH itself has to be healthy. However, my tooth is useless if it is not sur-
rounded by the healthy intact perio-dontal structures which connect, stab-
ilize and protect it. '
' Hey! You can check out more of me (and more about the"bone"
in PERIO-DONTICS) in our video @ "DR SKERPAN & SERVICES"! '