If you want to go to the dentist to treat your dental disease or get good oral health, you might get confused between a dentist and a periodontist. As both might sound the same, they are different. A dentist is a medical professional specializing in preventing, diagnosing, and treating dental diseases. A periodontist diagnoses and treats gum diseases.
There are many similarities between dentists and implant and periodontic specialists. However, there are some crucial differences as well. Some of these differences can make life much easier for dental patients. After reading this article, you’ll understand more about this profession and how to use it to your benefit.
Who is a dentist?
A dentist is a medical professional specializing in preventing, diagnosing, and treating dental diseases. The dentist may also provide oral hygiene advice to patients. A dentist will usually assist in maintaining a patient’s teeth and gums and removing any excess tartar or plaque that accumulates on them. Dental diseases include tooth decay, gum disease, and other oral health problems. Dentists can also determine if you have any health conditions that would make it unsafe to have specific procedures, like crowns or implants.
Who is a periodontist?
Periodontists have a specialty in gum disease. The periodontist completed additional advanced training in diagnosing, treating, and maintaining gum disease. They are specially trained to diagnose and treat periodontal diseases such as gingivitis, periodontitis (advanced gum disease), plaque-induced inflammation, and loss of supporting tissues around the teeth.
A dentist can treat oral problems such as cavities or impacted teeth but cannot specialize in treating gum disease. A general dentist will refer you to an endodontist if you need root canal therapy or an oral surgeon if you need surgery on your mouth bone structure due to trauma or infection.
There are many similarities between dentists and periodontists.
- Dentists and periodontists are trained to prevent, diagnose, and treat diseases related to the mouth.
- They understand how to prevent gum disease or other oral issues with regular checkups and cleanings.
- Both completed a four-year undergraduate degree before entering dental school, where they learned about dental anatomy and physiology and the clinical skills required for their profession.
- Both also must complete a four-year dental school program that includes extensive training in general practice dentistry (preventative care), oral surgery procedures like tooth extractions or implants surgery, as well as specialty training in either endodontics (root canals), orthodontics (straightening teeth), pediatric dentistry (children’s teeth) or periodontics/prosthodontics (gum disease).
However, there are some crucial differences as well.
While both dentists and periodontists are doctors, they focus on different parts of your mouth. Dentists are trained to care for teeth and gums, but periodontists undergo more advanced training in gum disease treatment.
- Dentists are more likely than periodontists to perform a root canal.
- Periodontists are more likely than dentists to perform a gum graft.
- Dentists are more likely than periodontists to place crowns or caps on teeth.
- Periodontists are more likely than dentists to place bridges between two natural teeth or implants where one or both of your natural teeth were removed or lost due to decay, injury, or an accident.
Overall, it’s important to remember that dentists and periodontists are experts in their respective fields. Implant and periodontic specialists can help you care for your teeth by providing routine checkups and ensuring they stay healthy. But if you have an issue with tooth decay or gum disease, then it might be time to visit a specialist like a periodontist who has more training in treating these problems.