Selecting the right doctor is not always an easy task. When it comes to your oral health, it is important to find someone you are comfortable with and someone that meets your dental needs. A periodontist is a dental specialist that focuses mostly on the gums and the supporting structures of the teeth. If you have gum disease or need a dental implant it is important that you seek out the help of a periodontal specialist in order to have these issues treated. To find the right dentist to fit your individual needs, you might consider taking the following steps: 1. Ask family members and friends for recommendations. When somebody receives great health care, they are usually pretty excited to brag about it. If you know you need periodontal care or a dental implant, ask people you trust to see if they have had any positive experiences in that area. 2. Read reviews online. More and more people are turning to the internet to find honest reviews of doctors and dentists. In an online platform, people generally feel that they can be very candid with their opinions of services they have received which means that you can get a good feel for the type of treatment you can expect at a particular dental office. 3. Determine what you are looking to have done and find a specialist in that area. You've heard of the saying "Jack of all trades, master of none" and do you really want someone like that working in your mouth? If you know specifically what you need to have done pertaining to your oral health, it is advisable to seek out a professional who specializes in that specific area. For example, if you have gum disease, you probably want to find an experienced periodontist to treat your mouth and gums. Specialists usually have advanced education and training in a specific area so they are well equipped to handle specific needs. 4. Look for a thought leader. Being a thought leader usually means being someone who is well regarded, highly respected, and somebody that other people feel they could learn from. To find a thought leader in your area, you might first want to research which dentists and specialists are sought after to give talks and lectures about topics in their field. You might also want to look at their credentials and see if they have any won awards or received any honors. Sometimes thought leaders are also pioneers in certain techniques and procedures. Many times doctors will have this information available in their bios on their websites so be sure to read up about a potential selection before you make an appointment. 5. When you find someone you might like, look at their work. Good dentists and periodontists are always proud to show of their work. Just like an artist who displays a very beautiful piece of art in a gallery, dentists and dental specialists who have completed really remarkable cases usually are not shy about showcasing them off on their website or around the office. For example, if you have a gummy smile and would like it corrected, find a periodontist who can perform their procedure and then ask to see their work. If the smile makeover was to your liking, you might consider scheduling an appointment with that doctor. In many cases, finding the right doctor is based on personal preference and is not an exact science. Hopefully with these helpful hints, the journey to select the right dentist will become a little easier. Dr. Joseph Nemeth is a periodontist in the Metro Detroit area and specializes in periodontal plastic surgery, gum disease treatment, and dental implants.