What Is a Periodontist vs Dentist? What Are the Differences?

Let’s face it, not many people actually enjoy the task of visiting the dentist, but it’s an important and necessary task, regardless. No matter how much you dread your dental checkups, you could face serious consequences without them, and then need to visit a dental specialist to rectify any serious issues. 

There’s no avoiding the dentist though, they are the ones who will have to refer you to a specialist, such as a periodontist. But what is a periodontist vs dentist, anyway? 

Found out in this blog which highlights everything you need to know. 

What Is a Periodontist vs. Dentist? A Simple Overview 

The key difference between a periodontist and a dentist is what they specialize in. In short, a dentist covers all aspects of oral health. While a periodontist specializes in the treatment of gum disease. It’s kind of the same as oral and maxillofacial surgeons. They have similar responsibilities but have different specialities. 

However, it’s worth mentioning that a periodontist basically qualifies as a dentist, too. But a dentist does not qualify as a periodontist. Here’s why: 

Training and Education 

Both a dentist and a periodontist undergo the same training and have the same education. They’re both required to attend dentistry school for a four-year period, or more. 

Their education involves both formal and practical training under supervision. The final outcome is a dental degree for both professions. From there, a dentist must complete and pass the national dentistry exam in order to earn their dental license. 

A periodontist will continue with their education and training for a further two-three years. During this time they go on to learn about periodontal disease, treatment, dental implants, gum surgery, and more. A periodontist needs to sit the national dental exam, as well as an additional exam in order to qualify as a periodontal practitioner. 

Why Choose a Periodontist To Treat Gum Disease? 

It’s worth noting that both a dentist and a periodontist can treat gum disease and offer dental implant procedures. However, a periodontist is a little more specialized in this field. 

A dentist looks at your mouth as a whole when they treat you. But a periodontist focuses on key issues of the gum tissue and other soft tissues, as well as the bones that support your teeth and jaw. 

Periodontists specialize in treating very specific conditions. Sometimes, a dentist might not have this type of extensive knowledge or know-how. This is when a dentist might refer you. 

The bottom line is that you’ll receive a referral to a periodontist if your dentist does not feel confident enough to take on a case of gum disease. If it’s fairly advanced, you’ll most likely receive a referral for periodontal expertise. 

Some of the most common symptoms of advanced gum disease include: 

  • Receeding gums
  • The appearance of long teeth 
  • Loose teeth 
  • Issues or pain related to biting or chewing 
  • Bleeding gums 
  • A very inflamed gum line 

In some cases, your dentist and a periodontist might work together to resolve the issue and offer a broad spectrum of treatment if a case of gum disease is especially bad.

Periodontal services typically include aesthetic gum procedures, gum lifts, gum grafting, root surface debridement, dental implant placement, bone grafting, and more.  


Take Control of Your Oral Health Today 

If your dentist has referred you to a periodontist and you’ve found yourself wondering ”what is a periodontist vs. dentist?”, we hope this blog has provided you with some clarity. 

When it comes to your dental health, being proactive is the best way to avoid specialist visits or dental care. Learn more about how to take control of your oral health by exploring the rest of this site! 

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