Here in Atlanta, there are misconceptions about what a periodontist is and how this type of provider differs from a general dentist or other dental specialist. As a local periodontist with offices in Midtown Atlanta and Roswell, our goal is to help our community answer this question once and for all!

What is a periodontist?

A periodontist is a dentist who specializes in treating issues affecting the foundation of your mouth (gums and jaw), including periodontal disease (gum disease) and implant placement.

Gum disease is an infection caused when plaque and calculus build up along the gumline. Both plaque and calculus are filled with bacteria. Without proper oral hygiene, this bacteria will slowly damage your teeth, gums, and jaw bone.

There are a variety of ways to prevent, treat, and cure gum disease. But when left undiagnosed or untreated, often the result is tooth loss. That’s where dental implants come in.

Dental implants are the best solution for missing or severely damaged teeth as a result of gum disease. An implant acts as the natural tooth root, supporting a crown, bridge, or even dentures. It will be like you never lost a tooth! But dental implants do more than restore your smile; they are an investment in your health, preventing bone loss, shifting teeth, gum disease, and more.

The difference between a dentist and a periodontist

How does a periodontist differ from a general dentist? General dentists diagnose and treat a wide range of oral health issues, while periodontists specialize in placing dental implants and diagnosing, treating, and preventing gum disease.

We understand the confusion though, because some general dentists do offer gum disease treatments and dental implants. Additionally, periodontists can also perform routine dental treatments just like a general dentist.

Periodontist vs. dentist education and training

Both dentists and periodontists must complete a 4-year undergraduate college degree, then graduate from an accredited dental school with a Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) or Doctor of Medical Dentistry (DMD) degree.

However, to be considered a periodontist, you must also complete 3 years of formal training in an American Dental Association (ADA)-accredited periodontology residency program.

In addition to all the above education, our periodontists here at Atlanta Center for Advanced Periodontics & Implant Dentistry are some of the few in Midtown Atlanta and Roswell who are also board certified in Dental Implant Surgery.

Procedures periodontists perform

Periodontists offer the full spectrum of periodontal treatments — both surgical and minimally invasive using a laser. Depending on your unique health situation, your periodontist will recommend a personalized treatment plan that may include a combination of treatments like…

  • Scaling & root planing
  • Gum recession therapy
  • Bone/tissue regeneration
  • Osseous surgery
  • And more

Additionally, our periodontists also perform dental implant treatments, including preparing your bone and gum tissue for implants and treating a failing implant.

When should you go visit a periodontist?

Have you been diagnosed by your general dentist with gum disease? Now is an excellent time to reach out to your periodontist! Additionally, you may notice some signs of gum disease on your own.

You should schedule an appointment with a periodontist if…

  • You have red, swollen, or bleeding gums (gum disease)
  • Your teeth feel loose or you have receding gums
  • You’re missing one or more teeth
  • You have a toothache, bad breath, or bite issue
  • You’re ready to achieve full oral health!

Not all periodontists offer routine care, but we do. In addition to providing periodontal treatment and dental implants, our team can help you maintain your smile and oral health through routine exams, cleanings, x-rays, and fillings.

How does a periodontist appointment work?

Going to a periodontist is similar to going to any other dental professional. It all starts with a first visit where our periodontist can evaluate your health and needs. 

Your first consultation here with us will include:

  • High-tech digital x-rays
  • Oral cancer screening
  • Dental health examination with your periodontist and their explanation of findings
  • Ample time to discuss your treatment plan options and recommendations

Find out more about what to expect as a new patient!

Does dental insurance cover a periodontist?

Many dental insurances cover a percentage of periodontal and implant treatments. At our office, payment is due at the time of your treatment. However, for those with insurance, we’re happy to complete insurance paperwork and file your claim electronically on your behalf. Any insurance reimbursement will be sent to you directly.

Have more questions? Learn more here.

Ready to see a periodontist?

From prevention and diagnosis to repairing and rejuvenating your oral health and smile — we’re with you every step of the way.

Contact us today and schedule an appointment at our Midtown Atlanta or Roswell office — no referral is necessary! Still have questions about whether or not you need a periodontist? Give us a call and let’s talk.