QUIZ: Test Your Periodontium Knowledge

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Test Your Periodontium Knowledge

1. Which is the functional unit of tissue that surrounds and supports the tooth?

1. Gingiva
2. Periodontal ligament
3. Alveolar bone
4. Periodontium

The gingiva, periodontal ligament, cementum, and alveolar bone all support the tooth; all aspects are necessary to have the proper support. The combination of these parts makes up the periodontium, the functional unit of tissue that surrounds and supports the tooth.

Wilkins, E.M. (2009).The Gingiva. Clinical Practice of the Dental Hygienist (10th ed., pp.212-227). Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, a Wolters Kluwer business.

2. The function of the cementum is to provide attachment for periodontal fibers. Due to the vascular and nerve connections in the cementum, it can often be very sensitive.

1. Both statements are true
2. The first statement is true, the second statement is false
3. Both statements are false
4. The first statement is false, the second statement is true

The function of the cementum is to provide attachment for the periodontal fiber groups and to seal the tubules of the root dentin. Due to a lack of vascular and nerve connections, the cementum is insensitive.

Wilkins, E.M. (2009).The Gingiva. Clinical Practice of the Dental Hygienist (10th ed., pp.212-227). Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, a Wolters Kluwer business.

3. The fibers that are inserted into the cementum on one side and the alveolar bone on the other are called oblique fibers.

1. True
2. False

The fibers that insert into the cementum on one side and the alveolar bone on the other are called Sharpey's fibers. Sharpey's fibers are not exclusive to the periodontium. Interestingly, Sharpey's fibers are also found in infants' skulls as they form to suture the bony plates of the skull of infants together.

Wilkins, E.M. (2009).The Gingiva. Clinical Practice of the Dental Hygienist (10th ed., pp.212-227). Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, a Wolters Kluwer business.

4. Which of the following gingival fiber groups are responsible for providing resistance to the separation of teeth?

1. Transeptal fibers
2. Dentogingival fibers
3. Alveologingival fibers
4. Circumferential fibers

There are five groups of gingival fibers:

  • Dentogingival fibers - (free gingiva) give support to the free gingiva
  • Alveologingival fibers - (attached gingiva) provide support to the free gingiva
  • Circumferential fibers – help maintain tooth position
  • Dentoperiosteal fibers – attach the tooth to the bone via insertion at the cervical cementum extending over the alveolar crest and attaching to the alveolar bone
  • Transseptal fibers – provide resistance to the separation of teeth

Wilkins, E.M. (2009).The Gingiva. Clinical Practice of the Dental Hygienist (10th ed., pp.212-227). Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, a Wolters Kluwer business.

5. A col is the depression between the lingual or palatal and facial papillae. Most periodontal infections begin in the col.

1. Both statements are true
2. The first statement is true, the second statement is false
3. Both statements are false
4. The first statement is false, the second statement is true

A col is the depression between the lingual or palatal and facial papillae. It is not keratinized, which makes it more susceptible to infection. Most periodontal infections begin in the col area.

Wilkins, E.M. (2009).The Gingiva. Clinical Practice of the Dental Hygienist (10th ed., pp.212-227). Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, a Wolters Kluwer business.

6. Which is an enlargement of the marginal gingiva with the formation of a "lifesaver-like" gingival prominence?

1. Stillman's cleft
2. McCall's festoon
3. Cratered papillae
4. Bulbous papillae

Festooning of the free gingiva, often referred to as McCall's festoon, is one of many changes that occur to indicate the onset and/or progression of disease. McCall's festoon is often described as a "lifesaver-like" or rolled contour of the gingiva.

Wilkins, E.M. (2009).The Gingiva. Clinical Practice of the Dental Hygienist (10th ed., pp.212-227). Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, a Wolters Kluwer business.

7. Which of the following changes in gingiva consistency indicate chronic inflammation?

1. Soft, spongy gingiva
2. Firm, hard gingiva
3. Retractable gingiva
4. All of the above

Changes in gingiva consistency are one of the signs of disease. Gingiva that is soft/spongy is indicative of acute stages of inflammation. Soft/spongy gingiva dents readily due to the infiltration of fluid and inflammatory elements.

Firm/hard gingiva is associated with chronic inflammation that has led to fibrosis. Firm/hard gingiva may appear pink and well-stippled; this tissue may also resist probing and only have bleeding in the deeper part of the pocket and not at the gingival margin. Retractable gingiva indicates the supporting gingival fibers have been destroyed.

Wilkins, E.M. (2009).The Gingiva. Clinical Practice of the Dental Hygienist (10th ed., pp.212-227). Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, a Wolters Kluwer business.

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Spring Hayes Hatfield, RDH, BSPH, is a graduate of Florida State College at Jacksonville and practices clinically in Vestavia Hills, Alabama. She is Dental Hygiene Board Certified in Florida, Louisiana, and Alabama. She is a member of the American Dental Hygiene Association. Spring is on the Advisory Board at Today’s RDH and holds the position of Associate Editor. Her passion is elevating the dental hygiene profession through science and education as well as clinical excellence. In her free time, she loves traveling, reading, and spending time with her husband, children and the animals at her useless animal farm. She can be reached via email at Spring@todaysrdh.com.