How to Become a Periodontist

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Periodontology (also called Periodontists) is a branch of dentistry that focuses on the study and care of the supporting structures of teeth and the conditions and diseases that affect them. Periodontists are dentists that are specially trained in periodontology and provide care to a variety of patients.


Hey, I'm Joshua T. Osborne

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What does a periodontist do?

Periodontists specialize in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of a variety of conditions that affect the gums and other structures that support the teeth such as gum disease, gingivitis, and periodontitis. They also treat injuries and malformations of teeth and gums. They obtain patient medical history and perform periodontal evaluations. They perform a variety of procedures to repair the gum tissue and bone structure, remove diseased tissue, and lengthen crowns. They also perform bone grafts and tooth extraction when needed. Periodontists also perform cosmetic procedures such as dental implants. They provide the necessary education to patients and families regarding proper oral hygiene to prevent future periodontal conditions.

What kind of training does a periodontist need?

Periodontists must complete a bachelor degree and attend dental school to obtain a Doctor of Dental Medicine (DMD) or Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS). All dental schools require candidates to pass the Dental Admissions Test (DAT) to become admitted. Dental school provides intensive classroom and clinical instruction and provides a variety of opportunities for practical experience. After the completion of dental school, prospective periodontists must complete three additional years of education in periodontics and obtain a Ph.D. Periodontists must be licensed to practice by passing the national board examination administered by the American Board of Periodontology. They must complete regular continuing education to maintain their licenses, keep their skills up to date, and stay abreast with advancements in the field.

What are the prospects for a career as a periodontist?

Employment of periodontists is expected to grow faster than average for all professions, increasing 16% from 2008 to 2018 (1). The growing population and increased need for periodontology care will drive job growth.

Job prospects are expected to be good especially for periodontists that have extensive experience and advanced training. Many job openings will arise due to the need to replace periodontists that retire, transfer, or leave the field for other reasons.

How much do periodontists make?

As of February 2010, the average annual salary for periodontists with less than 1 year experience is between $71,500 and $137,500. The average annual salary for periodontists with 1 to 4 years experience is between $93,483 and $148,738 (2).

A career as a periodontist is a great choice for people with a strong interest in periodontology and providing care to a variety of patients. Periodontists must have a solid understanding of a variety of periodontal conditions and treatment options. Manual dexterity, detail orientation, critical thinking, and good problem solving skills are necessary characteristics. Periodontists must have excellent communication and interpersonal skills and ability to make effective decisions during emergency situations.

Joshua T Osborne

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