What is a periodontist? Gum health experts

When it comes to our dental health, most of us are familiar with the roles of dentists and orthodontists.

However, the term "periodontist" might not be as well-known. Despite their critical role in dental healthcare, many people may find themselves asking, "What is a periodontist, and what do they do?".

This blog aims to give you a clear understanding of the role of periodontists, shedding light on their importance in maintaining not just our oral health, but our overall well-being.

What is a periodontist?

In simple terms, a periodontist is a dental specialist focused on the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of periodontal disease, and in the placement of dental implants.

They are experts in treating oral inflammation and diseases that affect the gums and supporting structures of the teeth.

Given their specialised training in these areas, periodontists are adept at managing severe
gum disease and complex dental issues that general dentists may not be equipped to handle.

Periodontist meaning and scope

The meaning of "periodontist" comes from "peri," meaning around, and "odont," meaning tooth. Therefore, periodontists are literally specialists who work around the tooth - focusing on the gums, bone, and connective tissues that support teeth. Their scope of work includes:

Diagnosing and treating gingivitis and periodontitis: Periodontists tackle gum diseases, ranging from the early stages of gum swelling to the more serious conditions where your gums might be severely affected. Their main goal is to stop these problems in their tracks, helping you keep your natural teeth healthy and intact for as long as possible.

Placing dental implants: When it comes to dental implants, periodontists are the go-to professionals for putting in new, artificial teeth that look and feel like your own. Whether it's setting them up for the first time or fixing them up when needed, they make sure these implants are fitted perfectly, ensuring you can bite, chew, and smile with confidence.

Cosmetic periodontal procedures: And it's not just about health; it's also about how your smile looks. If your gums have pulled back or if the roots of your teeth are showing, periodontists can help. They can graft new, healthy gum tissue in places where it's needed, helping your smile look fuller and more balanced.

The importance of periodontal health

Taking care of your gums goes beyond just keeping your smile looking good; it's a crucial step in maintaining your overall health and well-being.

Often, we don't realise the significant impact that gum health can have on our entire body. Gum disease, when left unchecked, isn't just a threat to your oral hygiene—it can lead to the loss of your teeth, which is a big enough problem on its own. But the risks don't stop there.

Research has shown a connection between the health of your gums and several chronic conditions, including diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. This link is thought to be due to the inflammation caused by gum disease, which can have wide-reaching effects on your body.

When to see a periodontist?

It's advisable to consult a periodontist if you experience:

  • Persistent bad breath
  • Swollen, bleeding, or receding gums
  • Loose teeth or changes in the way your teeth fit together
  • Discomfort or pain in your gums

These symptoms could indicate periodontal disease, and early intervention by a periodontist can make a significant difference in outcomes.

Treatments offered by a periodontist

Periodontists offer a range of treatments tailored to each patient's needs. These can include:

  • Non-surgical treatments: Such as scaling and root planing (a deep cleaning method) to remove plaque and tartar from deep under the gumline.
  • Surgical treatments: For more advanced cases, surgical options like flap surgery (pocket reduction surgery) or soft tissue grafts might be necessary.
  • Dental implants: Periodontists also specialise in the placement and care of dental implants, providing a functional and aesthetic replacement for lost teeth.


A periodontist plays a crucial role in dental health, focusing on the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of gum disease and in the placement of dental implants. Recognising the signs that may require a periodontist's intervention is vital for maintaining not only your oral health but your overall well-being. Remember, healthy gums are the foundation of a healthy smile. So, don't overlook your gum health; it's as important as taking care of your teeth.

Understanding the importance of periodontists and when to consult one can significantly impact your dental health journey. By keeping informed and proactive about your gum health, you're taking a crucial step towards a healthier, happier smile.

If you are unsure whether you might need to see a periodontist, contact us and we’ll guide you towards the best treatment possible!

Frequently asked questions - periodontist

Your visit frequency depends on your oral health status. Those with periodontal issues might need more frequent visits, while others may only need annual check-ups.

Yes, since bad breath is often caused by bacteria in the mouth, a periodontist can treat the underlying periodontal issues contributing to bad breath.

Modern periodontal treatments are designed to minimise discomfort. Local anaesthesia and sedation options are available to make procedures as pain-free as possible.

Recovery times vary depending on the procedure. Non-surgical treatments may have minimal downtime, while surgical procedures might require a few days to a few weeks for complete healing.

While periodontal disease is a chronic condition, it can be managed effectively with professional treatment and good oral hygiene practices. Early detection and intervention are key to preventing its progression.