What is the Difference Between a Dentist and a Periodontist?

What is the difference between a dentist and a periodontist? | Village Periodontics

While all periodontists are dentists, not every dentist is a periodontist. Sounds confusing? Don’t worry! Here we’ll break down what makes a periodontist different from a dentist and the different dental situations they’re prepared to handle.

Dentist vs. Periodontist

While we’re all pretty familiar with what a dentist is, let’s dive in to see how a periodontist is different. By definition, a periodontist specializes in both prevention and treatment for periodontal disease, or periodontitis, which focuses on the gums. They are also experts in dental implants.

Although a dentist may provide treatments related to the gums, they would not be considered a periodontist. This all comes down to training.

What it Takes to be a Periodontist

There are 12 different specialized areas in the world of dentistry, and periodontics is one of them. In order to be a periodontist, a dentist must study beyond dental school and receive specialized training specific to periodontics. 

While both a dentist and periodontist will have an undergraduate and dental degree, a periodontist has additional training after dental school. In 2-3 years of training, they gain experience in treating periodontitis in all its different stages, as well as dental implant placement.

Why See a Periodontist

Dentists will typically refer their patients to a periodontist for their expertise with gum disease. Periodontists are highly qualified in providing periodontal treatment and care relating to the gum and bone surrounding the teeth.

There are dentists who provide some periodontal care, but they may still refer patients to periodontists. This usually happens when they seek an expert second opinion or the case of gum disease is too severe for their level of experience.

When to See a Periodontist

If you think you may have periodontal disease, don’t wait to see a periodontist. Receiving periodontal treatment as soon as possible is essential to make sure there aren’t further health problems down the line. It is the leading cause of adult tooth loss, and can lead to issues way beyond mild irritation.

If your gums show any of the following symptoms, you may have periodontal disease:

  • Irritated or swollen
  • Bleeding 
  • Pulling away from teeth

The earlier you catch these symptoms, the greater chance you have at preventing extreme pain and bone loss. With the right periodontist, the treatment process for periodontitis will be easy and comfortable. Here at Village Periodontics & Dental Implant Center, we seek to meet your oral health needs with compassion and comfort. Contact us today for an appointment!