Periodontic Specialists - periodontists

What is Periodontics?

Periodontics is concerned with the diagnosis, management, prevention, and treatment of diseases of the gums, surrounding tissues, and the bone that support the teeth.

What is a specialist in Periodontics?

A specialist in Periodontics (or periodontist) may work in private specialist practices, in the hospital service, or in community dental clinics. Specialists often work together with hygienists and therapists to prevent and treat periodontal disease in patients. They can also have a role in the undergraduate and postgraduate training and education, as well as research and audit.

What treatments can a periodontist carry out?

Periodontal disease is a major cause of early tooth loss, and prevention is essential. This involves screening to detect patients at risk of developing periodontal disease, and the removal of risk factors, through oral hygiene and tooth brushing instructions, regular cleaning of the teeth with scaling and polishing, as well as advice on stopping smoking. These treatments can be carried out by hygienists and therapists, as well as general dental practitioners (GDPs).

Periodontists may treat more difficult or complex cases; for example those patients with a complicated medical history, or those with severe gum disease. Other treatments that can be offered include Root Surface Debridement (RSD) or Root Planing, which involves cleaning the infected surface of the root. Gingivectomy is a surgical treatment carried out for severe gum disease that cannot be cured by scaling, root planning, or antibiotics; the diseased gum is removed and reshaped to eliminate the deep pockets between the teeth and gums so that the area will be easier to keep clean. Gingivoplasty is another type of gum surgery that reshapes healthy gum tissue in order to improve the appearance of the smile.

What additional training and qualifications does a periodontist need?

To apply for speciality training, registered dentists must have a minimum of at least two years postgraduate general professional training (GPT), and have obtained the Membership diploma of the Faculty of Dental Surgery (MFDS) or equivalent from the Royal College of Surgeons.

Speciality training involves three years of postgraduate training to prepare for the Master of Clinical Dentistry (MClinDent) in Periodontics examination. Trainees must also sit the Diploma of Membership in Restorative Dentistry (MRD) examination set by the Royal College of Surgeons. This examination covers all aspects of general restorative dentistry, and will also test their knowledge in the nominated subject of periodontics. On successful completion of these examinations, trainees will be awarded the Certificate of Completion of Specialist Training (CCST) which allows them to apply to be included on the speciality list.