Not all dentists can do everything needed to keep a mouth healthy. That’s where specialists like periodontists come in, as described by Jason Bullock, DMD, MS, ABCD. A periodontist is someone who practices periodontics or the prevention and treatment of periodontal disease, a nasty gum disease.


All periodontists go through four years of general dental school, then need an additional three years of schooling in periodontics.

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They usually need to go through additional training throughout their careers. They need this training to perform surgeries to specifically combat severe cases of periodontal disease.

Diagnosing Periodontal Disease

Both general dentists and periodontists can diagnose periodontal disease. This is done by using a hook-shaped probe to measure how deep it is between the gums and the teeth. Measurements of four millimeters or more mean the patient has periodontal disease.

What a Periodontist Does

A periodontist not only performs mouth surgeries but also can perform scaling and root planing, or cleaning under the gum line where bacteria have gone amok. Surgical procedures include bone grafting and lowering gum tissue. They also can repair and replace dental implants. Ill-fitting or broken implants cause pain, problems chewing and the growth of dangerous bacteria which cause gum disease.

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