One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
Originally: †the periodontal ligament, which invests the root of a tooth (obsolete). In later use: all the tissues surrounding and supporting a tooth, including the alveolar process, the cementum, and the gingiva, as well as the periodontal ligament.
Late 19th century; earliest use found in Thomas Bryant (1828–1914). From peri- + odonto- + scientific Latin -ium, probably after French périodonte.
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