What is a Periodontist? Understanding the Role of Gum Specialists


When it comes to oral health, there are different types of dental professionals who specialize in various aspects of dental care. Two such professionals are the dentist and the periodontist. While both of these professionals focus on oral health, their specific areas of expertise and job responsibilities can differ significantly. In this blog post, we’ll explore the differences between a periodontist and a dentist, discuss the role of a periodontist in treating gum disease, and look at the average salary of a periodontist.

Periodontist vs. Dentist

A dentist is a healthcare professional who specializes in the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of dental and oral health problems. Dentists typically provide a wide range of services, including routine dental exams, cleanings, fillings, and extractions. They also diagnose and treat issues such as tooth decay, cavities, and gum disease.

A periodontist, on the other hand, is a dentist who has completed additional training and education in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of gum disease and other conditions that affect the gums and other tissues that support the teeth. A periodontist may perform procedures such as scaling and root planing, gum grafting, and dental implants to treat gum disease and other related issues.

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Periodontist and Gum Disease

Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, is a common oral health problem that affects millions of people. It is caused by bacteria that accumulate in the mouth, which can lead to inflammation and infection in the gums. If left untreated, gum disease can lead to tooth loss and other serious health problems.


Periodontists are specialists in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of gum disease. They have extensive training in identifying the signs and symptoms of gum disease, such as bleeding gums, bad breath, and receding gums. Periodontists can also perform procedures such as scaling and root planing to remove plaque and bacteria from the teeth and gums, as well as gum grafting to repair damaged gum tissue.

Periodontist Salary

The salary of a periodontist can vary depending on factors such as location, years of experience, and type of employer. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for dentists, including periodontists, was $164,010 as of May 2020. However, salaries can range from around $85,000 to over $200,000 per year.

In general, periodontists tend to earn higher salaries than general dentists due to their specialized training and expertise. Additionally, periodontists may have the opportunity to work in a variety of settings, including private practice, hospitals, and academic institutions, which can also impact their earnings.


In summary, while both dentists and periodontists focus on oral health, a periodontist has additional training and expertise in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of gum disease and related conditions. If you are experiencing signs of gum disease or have other issues related to your gums and teeth, consulting with a periodontist may be beneficial. And for those considering a career in periodontics, the potential for a higher salary and diverse work settings can make it an appealing career path.

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What is a periodontist?

A: A periodontist is a specialized dentist who focuses on the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of gum diseases.

What is the difference between a periodontist and a regular dentist?

A: A periodontist has specialized training in the diagnosis and treatment of gum diseases and other oral conditions, while a regular dentist provides general oral health care services such as teeth cleaning, fillings, and extractions.

What types of gum diseases does a periodontist treat?

A: A periodontist can treat various types of gum diseases, including gingivitis, periodontitis, and advanced periodontitis.

How can I know if I need to see a periodontist?

A: You should see a periodontist if you experience any of the signs of gum disease, such as bleeding gums, bad breath, gum recession, loose teeth, or changes in the way your teeth fit together.

What happens during a periodontal examination?

A: During a periodontal examination, the periodontist will examine your gums, teeth, and mouth to look for signs of gum disease. They may use X-rays or other diagnostic tools to determine the extent of the disease.

What treatments do periodontists offer for gum disease?

A: Periodontists offer a variety of treatments for gum disease, including scaling and root planing, gum graft surgery, and dental implant placement.

How much does it cost to see a periodontist?

A: The cost of seeing a periodontist can vary depending on the type of treatment you need, your insurance coverage, and other factors. It is best to contact the periodontist’s office to get an estimate of the costs involved.

How often should I see a periodontist?

A: The frequency of your visits to a periodontist depends on your individual oral health needs. Your regular dentist may recommend that you see a periodontist for a consultation or treatment.

How can I prevent gum disease?

A: You can prevent gum disease by maintaining good oral hygiene habits, such as brushing twice a day, flossing daily, and getting regular dental checkups and cleanings.

What is the salary range for a periodontist?

A: According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary for periodontists in the United States is around $208,000. However, salaries can vary depending on the location, experience, and type of practice.

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