Dentist vs. Periodontist: How to Choose

“Do I need a periodontist or a dentist?” It’s a simple question with a surprisingly simple answer. The fact is, a periodontist is a dentist, just one with specialized skill. As with other branches of medicine, a Los Angeles dentist may specialize in a certain area. A periodontist specializes in surgical and non-surgical treatment of the bone and tissue that support the teeth. This includes the placement and maintenance of dental implants.

When to Choose a Periodontist

Most people visit a dentist for regular check-ups and oral hygiene appointments. In many instances, you will know that you need to see a periodontist because your regular dentist will refer you to one. You may also want to consider a periodontist if you have missing teeth and are interested in dental implants or if you have a periodontal disease such as gingivitis or periodontitis. Any aesthetic concerns related to your gums may be best addressed by a periodontist, especially if you are considering gum bleaching or treatment for a gummy smile. Other reasons for aesthetic gum treatment include teeth that are too short or too long, having an uneven gum line, or having a very thin upper lip which curls or goes up too far.

Board Certification

If you are trying to select any medical or dental specialist, board certification is a good indicator that a provider has the education, skill, and experience to make your procedure a success. In choosing a periodontist, you should look for one that is certified by the American Board of Periodontology. Board certification means that your periodontist has graduated from dental school with a DDS or DMD degree, completed an accredited periodontal specialty training program, and passed an oral and written exam.

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