What's the Job Description of a Periodontist?

Periodontists focus on treating diseases and disorders related to the gums. Keep reading to learn about duties, education and licensure requirements, and salary and career outlook for this dental specialty. Schools offering Dental Assisting degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Job Description

As a periodontist, you'll treat patients who have gum disease and other issues of the gums and bones surrounding the jaw. Your work may be surgical or non-surgical and might include tasks like placing implants, developing treatment plans, and providing preventative care. You may also perform cosmetic procedures, including tissue grafts or reductions to alter the way a person's smile looks. Part of your job might also be to help patients resolve issues like tooth sensitivity. While most dentists work in their own private practices, you might work in a group practice, clinic, dental school, or hospital.

Important Facts About Periodontist

Median Salary (2015) $168,697
Job Outlook (2014-2024) 18% growth (for all dentists)
Key Skills Attention to detail; manual dexterity; physical stamina; critical thinking; problem solving; leadership; organization
Similar Occupations Chiropractors; optometrists; physicians; surgeons; podiatrists; veterinarians

Sources: PayScale.com, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Education Requirements

Becoming a periodontist starts along the same path as becoming a dentist. You need to complete dental school, followed by a residency in periodontics. Admission to dental school usually entails passage of the Dental Admissions Test and at least two years of prior college study, but it's common for students to earn a bachelor's degree before gaining admission. You might earn your degree in an area of science, which may prepare you for the extensive science coursework required in dental school; however, a degree in any major is usually acceptable as long as you meet science prerequisites.

Dental school takes four years to complete and includes classroom and laboratory instruction. You'll take mostly general and clinical science courses in the first two years, including anatomy, pathology, and patient care procedures. In the final years, you'll gain practical, supervised experience in clinical settings. You'll help diagnose and treat patients while discovering various specialties, like periodontics and pediatric dentistry. Upon graduating, you'll earn a Doctor of Dental Surgery or Doctor of Dental Medicine.

You'll then continue your studies in a residency program, which allows you to gain more practical experience in periodontics. You'll learn to deal with difficult patients and explore techniques and procedures specific to this area of dentistry. Residency programs are usually offered through universities, hospitals, and other medical facilities.

Licensure and Board Certification

All states require dentists to be licensed. To earn a dental license, you must pass written and practical exams. While the practical exam is typically state-administered, the written component may be fulfilled by passing the National Board Dental Examinations. You may also need to pass additional exams in the specialty to practice as a periodontist.

Additionally, you could choose to become certified by the American Board of Periodontology. To qualify for board certification, you must earn a dental degree, complete a periodontics education program and pass the board exams (www.abperio.org). Board certification must be renewed every six years.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

  • 1. Degree Options:
The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

Popular Schools

  • The George Washington University

    The George Washington University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at The George Washington University:

    • Master

    Online Programs Available

  • Southern New Hampshire University

    Southern New Hampshire University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Southern New Hampshire University:

    • Master

    Online Programs Available

  • Independence University

    Independence University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Independence University:

    • Master

    Online Programs Available

  • Keiser University

    Keiser University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Keiser University:

    • Associate Programs

    Online Programs Available

  • Penn Foster High School

    Penn Foster High School responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Penn Foster High School:

    Online Programs Available

  • Herzing University

    Herzing University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Herzing University:

    Online Programs Available

  • College of Health Care Professions

    College of Health Care Professions responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at College of Health Care Professions:

    • Certificates

    Campus Locations:

    • Texas: Austin, Houston, San Antonio
  • Regent University

    Regent University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Regent University:

    • Doctoral
    • Master

    Online Programs Available

  • Penn Foster

    Penn Foster responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Penn Foster:

    • Certificates

    Online Programs Available

  • Fortis College

    Fortis College responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Fortis College:

    • Certificates

    Campus Locations:

    • Maryland: Towson
  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. Next »