Riggs' disease

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Riggs' disease, also known as pyorrhea of a toothsocket or gingivitis expulsiva, is a purulent inflammation of the dental periosteum named after American dentist John W. Riggs (1811–1885).[1]

Riggs' disease produces the progressive necrosis of the alveoli and looseness of the teeth. The teeth may become very loose and fall out of the sockets.

Mark Twain wrote briefly about Riggs' disease in his short essay, Happy Memories of the Dental Chair, in which he claims to have been examined by Dr. Riggs himself.[2]


  1. ^ Shklar, G; Carranza, FA: The Historical Background of Periodontology. In Newman, MG; Takei, HH; Carrana FA, editors: Carranza’s Clinical Periodontology, 9th Edition. Philadelphia: W.B. Saunders Company, 2002. page 7.
  2. ^ Mark Twain's Notebooks & Journals, Volume II (1877-1883): The Mark Twain papers