Experts in Gum Health, and Beyond A periodontist is a dentist who has undergone additional specialty training beyond dental school pertaining to the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of gum diseases. While general dentists often treat the mildest cases of periodontal disease, most patients with moderate to advanced gum disease are referred to periodontists. A periodontist can carry out complex periodontal treatments and surgeries to prevent the progression of periodontal disease and also preserve tooth structure. Additionally, a periodontist may specialize in the placement of dental implants and cosmetic gum restoration. Did You Know... that American periodontists study for an additional two to four years after graduating from dental school? Furthermore, a periodontist must not only complete a dental residency, but also a periodontal residency before becoming eligible for national or state licensure and Board certification. All periodontists must pass the National Board of Dental Examinations, as well as a written and oral exam administered by the American Board of Periodontology. Frequently Asked Questions Do I need to visit a periodontist? You may need to visit a periodontist if you have gum disease or other periodontal complications that are untreatable by your general dentist. Visit your dentist immediately if you are experiencing red or swollen gums, or if you have pockets that have formed between your gums and teeth. This could be a sign of periodontal disease or periodontitis, for which your dentist may refer you to a periodontist for treatment. What should I expect during a periodontal visit? Your first periodontal visit will require a complete dental and medical background review, as well as information about your current symptoms and medications. You’ll undergo an examination, during which time your periodontist will inspect your gums and teeth for signs of disease. Your periodontist will then discuss your diagnosis and your options for treatment if necessary. Will I need to undergo periodontal treatment after my initial visit? There are many reasons for undergoing periodontal treatment – most commonly for the treatment of gum disease. Both surgical and non-surgical treatments are available, but only your periodontist can tell you which type is right for you.