We’ve explored one dental specialty, endodontics, and here we venture into the world of periodontology. Periodontists specialize in the treatment of the structures (primarily the gums and gum tissue) that support your teeth. They also specialize and study the diseases and conditions that might affect these structures.

Periodontists, in addition to completing four years of dental school, also complete three additional years of clinical training in periodontology. Severe gum disease is the leading cause of tooth loss in adults, and periodontists are the specialists who can help, making them an important part in some dental journeys and integral to maintaining good oral health.

While general dentists are able to handle early onset of gum disease some cases require a more specialized eye. If you ever need to seek treatment for gum health, a periodontist will work directly with your dentist to establish the best treatment plan.

Why Do You Need to See a Periodontist?

Have you noticed in your dental appointments that your dentist will check your teeth and start assigning numbers that are recorded in your chart? The odds are pretty good that this has happened and you might be wondering what exactly they’re doing. The short and simple answer is that they’re measuring the space between a tooth and the gum tissue next to it.

The reason that most dentists today will check this is because it can be a good measure of the health of your gums. With a recent study finding that nearly 50% of adults over the age of 30 have some form of gum disease, it’s important to keep a regular eye on all aspects of your oral health.

Early intervention with gum disease is important as it allows for treatment that can help preserve your overall health by ensuring your oral health is on track. While your family dentist might be able to handle some early gum disease problems, if it’s advanced beyond a certain point they’re likely to refer you to a local periodontist.

Want to know how you can help monitor your own oral health? Between your regularly scheduled dental appointments watch for signs in your daily life that might be indicators of gum disease. These signs might include swollen or bleeding gums, an overall sense that your teeth are loose, or overall pain and discomfort. If you experience any of these we recommend that you schedule an appointment with your dentist so that they can take a look and provide guidance.

What Procedures Does a Periodontist Perform?

Periodontists are well-trained in the treatment of periodontal disease, but what specifically do they do for patients? While there are a range of procedures both non-surgical and surgical, we highlight the most common below.

Scaling and Root Planing

Scaling and root planning is a careful cleaning of the root surfaces. The cleaning is performed to remove plaque and tartar from deep periodontal pockets.

Root Surface Debridement

Root surface debridement is the removal of the damaged tissue from the root surface.

Regenerative Procedures

In some cases of severe gum disease a patient experiences a loss of tissue or bone. A periodontist can help regenerate some of the lost bone or tissue by using bone grafts or tissue-stimulating proteins to encourage a bodies natural ability to regenerate bone and tissue.


As we mention often, the goal of modern dentistry is to preserve the natural teeth for patients whenever possible. There are a great team of dentists, periodontists, and endodontists who are ready to help you on your journey to great oral health.