Periodontitis is an infection characterized by the occurrence of supporting tissue destruction with an episodic nature. Disease progression is often determined by the loss of attachment level or alveolar bone, and sequential probing of periodontal attachment remains the most commonly utilized method to diagnose progressive destruction of the periodontium. The tolerance method has been the most extensive clinical method used in recent years to determine site-specific attachment level changes. There is abundant evidence that major tissue destruction in periodontal lesions results from the recruitment of immune cells. Considerable effort has been made to study the host cell and mediator profiles involved in the pathogenesis of chronic periodontitis, but the definition of active sites, where current periodontal breakdown occurs, and consecutive characterization of the mediators involved are still among the main concerns. In the present review, we summarize periodontopathic bacteria and host factors, including infiltrating cell populations, cytokines, and host matrix metalloproteinases, associated with under-going episodic attachment loss that could partly explain the mechanisms involved in destruction of the supporting tissues of the tooth.