What Does A Periodontist Do and How Are They Different?

A periodontist is a dental specialist whose primary focus is on the support structures for the teeth. The field of periodontics involves diagnosis and treatment of periodontal disease, better known as gum disease, and related conditions and procedures. 

If you’ve been referred to a periodontist for treatment, you may be wondering what exactly a periodontist does and what makes them different from a general dentist. Here’s an overview of the job of a periodontist and the services they provide. 

Services a Periodontist Provides 

Periodontists provide a wide variety of services, including: 

  • Treatment for periodontal disease. Periodontal disease, or gum disease, is a bacterial infection of the gum tissue caused by plaque and calculus that build up on the teeth. Treatment for periodontal disease includes removal of plaque and calculus from the teeth and roots below the gum line. Laser dentistry is sometimes used to remove diseased tissue and promote healing. 
  • Periodontal maintenance. Regular periodontal maintenance can keep gum disease from coming back after it is treated. Removal of plaque and calculus according to the schedule that works best for you can keep you free of periodontal disease. 
  • Cosmetic dentistry. Gum tissue can affect the appearance of your teeth as well as your dental health. If you have too much or too little gum tissue, a periodontist can provide gum contouring and gum grafting to help your smile look more natural. 
  • Periodontal surgery. In some cases gum disease can result in the need for periodontal surgery. Periodontists perform a variety of surgical procedures that can treat and prevent gum disease. 
  • Dental implants. Periodontists also specialize in the placement of dental implants. Because dental implants are surgically placed under the gum tissue in the bone of your jaw, this is a periodontist’s area of expertise. 

Qualifications of a Periodontist

What does someone have to do to become a periodontist? First they must attend a 4 year college and earn a Bachelor’s Degree. The next step is to apply for, be accepted to, and attend a dental school to earn a degree in dentistry. After they receive their doctor of dental medicine (DMD) or doctor of dental surgery (DDS), they must earn an additional certification in periodontics. To become a board certified periodontist, they must complete at least 3 years of training in a periodontology residency program and meet the requirements for national board certification.

Your periodontist should be able to provide you with proof of their qualifications if you request it. You can also look on your state’s education department website for the name of the dentist or periodontist you are considering to ensure they are licensed to practice in your state. 

Why Would You Need to See a Periodontist? 

Your general dentist may refer you to a periodontist for a variety of reasons: 

  • Recurring gum disease. If you’ve had gum disease that doesn’t respond to traditional treatment or keeps coming back after treatment, your dentist may refer you to a periodontist for more in-depth periodontal therapy. 
  • Specialized treatment. You may be referred to a periodontist for a specific procedure that requires the expertise of a specialist. 
  • Periodontal maintenance. Periodontists provide customized periodontal maintenance programs to keep your teeth free of plaque and calculus according to your individual needs. 

If you need a dental implant, trust the caring and compassionate team at Belmont Family Dentistry. We are committed to providing personable and professional dental care.

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