Periodontists are dentists who specialize in periodontal disease. They are well-versed in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of the disease, including surgical options, as well as the placement of tooth implants. They also perform oral plastic surgical and cosmetic procedures like gingival sculpting and ridge augmentation.
If you’re at high risk of periodontal disease, your dentist might recommend a periodontist to better manage your risk factors. Risk factors that increase your chance of developing periodontal disease such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, or a history of tobacco use.
Choosing a Periodontist
If your dentist recommends a periodontist, they likely have a list of ones in mind that are qualified to handle your care. This can be a good place to start to get a list of periodontists in your area that your dentist has a working relationship with. They are also more likely to take your insurance.
Getting a recommendation from your dentist doesn’t mean you’re stuck with whomever they recommend, though. It’s ok to evaluate your options before choosing any healthcare professional.
To become a periodontist, a person must complete a four-year undergraduate degree to become a Doctor of Dental surgery. Then they must complete a residency program and pass strict exams to earn board certification.
There are other key factors to pay attention to when evaluating a potential periodontist. Some specialists focus on continuing education and keep earning credentials in areas they wish to sub-specialize in. The length of time they’ve been in practice is important.
With a list of local periodontists, hopefully covered by your insurance, it’s time to head to the internet to read reviews. Other patients can give you a good understanding not just of the skill level of local periodontists, but their ethics and the value they place on their relationship with their patients.
They can also tell you what to expect when making or attending an appointment, even if it’s not related to the particular procedures you’ll be going in for. Different clinics have different policies on making or breaking appointments as well as their relationship with their customers.
Find the clinic that works best for you and your lifestyle. Clinics as well as individual periodontists differ in whether they take a conservative or aggressive approach to treatment. Clinics offer different pain management and anesthesia options. Emergency care options are also important to note just in case something come up.
Office hours and location are also a consideration, especially if you’ll be getting surgical procedures where you’ll need other people to drive you home.
The internet has plenty of ways to make searching for the best periodontist for you easy. Often just googling their name will get you not only their website but a list of their reviews from various places. It shouldn’t be difficult to find one with the professionalism, clinic procedures, and availability you’re looking for.