Why see a specialist ?
A specialist is a person who concentrates primarily on a particular subject or activity, a person highly skilled in a specific and restricted field. A periodontist is a general dentist with advanced education in periodontics. They are specialized in the treatment of periodontal disease, treatment of gum recession, bone grafting, and placement of dental implants. The American Dental Association, along with the American Academy of Periodontology, requires periodontists to have at least 3 years of post-doctoral, advanced specialty training in Periodontics and Implantology from an accredited program after graduation from dental school.
A general dentist can practice Periodontics or place implants, but cannot claim to be a specialist in the field, nor do they have the additional training or expertise to perform more complicated procedures. Generally, a non-specialist’s training consists only of short courses in diagnosis and treatment with minimal hands-on experience. Furthermore, most periodontists undergo hundreds of hours in periodontal and implant related continuing education every year, and are well versed in the latest science and literature in their field. Their constant exposure to the most challenging of cases allows them to remain experts in the latest techniques and materials.
Some periodontist choose to receive board certification in Periodontics and become a Diplomate of the American Board of Periodontology which requires even more stringent written and oral examinations. The intent of board certification is to demonstrate that a certified dental specialist has successfully completed an approved educational program and an evaluation. This includes an examination process designed to assess the knowledge, experience and skills requisite to the provision of high quality patient care in that specialty.