Periodontist vs Dentist: What’s the Difference?

3 min readMay 26, 2021

Have you not been resting well lately because the pain just won’t stop? A constant and unrelenting ache that even the prescribed painkillers will not prevent?

Or maybe you are healthy, but you need to give your teeth a routine check-up to ensure that everything is clean and in top shape. However, you are not sure whether to book an appointment with your regular dentist or a periodontist.

Do you want to know where to book your next appointment? Continue reading to find out what makes them different and when you should call whom.

Periodontist vs Dentist

In summary, a periodontist is a dentist, but a dentist is not a periodontist.

A dentist is a general oral doctor. They treat diseases and other general conditions that affect the teeth. They also do teeth extraction, repair, and install artificial ones.

On the other hand, periodontists are experts who focus on severe inflammatory diseases around the gums and the bone structure around the mouth. Periodontics is one of the ten specialized areas of dentistry.

A periodontist is a more specialized dentist. According to American Dental Association, a periodontist is a dentist specializing in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of periodontal or disease and in the placement of major dental implants.

Both doctors attend the same dental school. But a periodontist must complete three extra years of post-doctorate training besides the normal dentist training.

Should I See a Dentist or Periodontist?

Many people don’t know that there are different specializations for dentists. They just assume that a dentist is a dentist.

But the truth is, there are ten different specialized areas of dentistry. For example, a periodontist is trained to diagnose and treat severe infections that affect the gum tissue and bone around the mouth.

But you might find some periodontist who specializes only in the placement of dental implants. These dental implants can be either for periodontal or cosmetic purposes.

But when do you need to see the periodontist? A general dentist can handle mild periodontal problems. But if you doubt, talk to your dentist and find out if they are qualified to handle the situation.

If your case is serious and has severe gum or bone infections, a periodontist is likely more suited to deal with the problem.

Book an appointment with a periodontist clinic if you notice any of the following

  • Bright red or swollen gums. Do your gums sometimes bleed after you brush or floss? This is one of the popular signs that you might need a periodontist.
  • Loose teeth. If your teeth feel a little loose, it’s a sign that the bone around your gums is thinning. Sometimes it can be a serious infection, and you need a doctor immediately.
  • Change in your bite. Is your chewing not normal? If your chewing pattern is different, something is definitely wrong. It’s advisable to book an appointment with a periodontist.
  • There is pain or discomfort. Sometimes there is a general discomfort around or underneath your gums. It doesn’t affect a specific tooth, but you can feel a bit of pain and discomfort. It is time to schedule that appointment. Do not take chances.

periodontist vs dentist: The conclusion

Whether it’s the dentist or the periodontist entirely depends on your condition. A dentist will diagnose and treat all your general oral health issues. But if you suspect a severe periodontal problem, call a periodontal clinic and book an appointment.




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