What is a Periodontist?

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What is a Periodontist?

periodontist  dr woodsA periodontist is a special kind of dentist that focuses on dealing with the mouth’s soft tissue and the jawbone underneath that supports the teeth. A dentist that has first graduated from an accredited dental program can then choose to undertake three years of additional study and a periodontology residency to become a periodontist.

The main focus of a residency is to train on both the surgical and non-surgical methods for managing periodontal disease and the proper placement of dental implants. accredited dental program can then choose to undertake three years of additional study and a periodontology residency to become a periodontist.

Problems A Periodontist Can Treat

In most cases, a periodontist focuses primarily on:
  1. prevention of gum disease
  2. of conditions that impact the jawbone and gums
  3. treating periodontitis, gingivitis and bone loss.
Periodontal disease is progressive and is the most common reason for tooth loss among adults in developed countries. A periodontist can treat simple, moderate and even advanced gum disease by first dealing with infections that cause the problem, then providing treatment for the condition and information and education about proper oral hygiene and good teeth cleaning procedures.

The conditions most commonly treated by a periodontist are:
  • Gingivitis: This mild inflammation of gum tissue may or may not include bleeding and pain.
  • Periodontitis: This condition can be mild or moderate and involves pockets between soft tissue and teeth that measure at least 4 to 6 millimeters in depth when the condition reaches the point of being moderate gum disease. Dentist having completed an accredited dental program can then choose to undertake three years of additional study and a periodontology residency to become a periodontist.
  • Advanced periodontitis: When pocket depth exceeds 6 millimeters in depth, gum disease is advanced and there can be significant bone loss that causes loss of teeth or shifting of teeth.
  • Missing teeth: When teeth have been lost due to bone loss, a periodontist can correct the problem with prosthetic teeth implants that are anchored to the jawbone and restore the look and function of natural teeth.

Procedures Performed By A Periodontist

A periodontist can do a wide range of treatments to stop gum disease progression, replace teeth that are missing and make a smile look more pleasing.

Treatments most often handled by a periodontist include:
  • Implant placement: When one or more teeth are missing, a periodontist can put in replacements with a natural look using prosthetic teeth anchored to the jawbone.
  • Hard tissue recontouring: Called osteoplasty, a periodontist can reshape hard tissue once periodontitis is treated to make a smile more pleasing and natural-looking.
  • Soft tissue recontouring: Called gingivoplasty, a periodontist can reshape tissues and straighten the gum line to make teeth look more even and less long, reducing the negative appearance of a toothy smile.
  • Bone grafting: Proper positioning of dental implants is only possible if there is enough bone to which to attach the prosthetic tooth. When bone loss has happened, grafting can add or grow additional bone into which the implant can be securely placed.
  • Deep pocket cleaning: As periodontitis and gingivitis gets worse, cleaning the deep pockets between the gums and teeth can get very difficult. A periodontist can root plane and scale the teeth under local anesthesia, if needed, to remove infection-causing bacteria and debris.
  • Crown lengthening: A periodontist can remove surrounding gum tissue to make more of a natural tooth visible. A periodontist is a skilled dental professional who can successfully diagnose and properly treat many kinds of conditions relating to the bone and soft tissue in the mouth.


If you have need of a periodontist, call (619) 640-5100 for a free consultation with Dr. Paige Woods, DDS.