How to Pick a Top Periodontist
How to Pick a Top Periodontist
When you have moderate-to-severe gum disease, you need a top periodontist to help restore your mouth to good health. Periodontitis can be difficult to control, and sometimes, the most a dentist can hope for is to slow the progression of the disease. But the best periodontists can often stop periodontitis and reverse some of the damage that’s already been done to your gums and jaw. Here are some areas you can ask prospective providers about to help you identify the right periodontist for your treatment.
Education and Board Certification
Periodontists are specialists who have gone through several years of advanced training in an ADA-accredited periodontology program after completing four years of general dental training. The national board that certifies periodontists is the American Board of Periodontology (ABP). A good periodontist will always keep up with the recertification process and renew their status with the ABP every six years. A top periodontist will go above and beyond the minimum requirements for recertification by pursuing additional education in the latest periodontic disease prevention, treatment and restoration options. They may also be an active member of the American Academy of Periodontologists – a professional organization for dentists who limit their practice to periodontics and related specialties.
Length of time in practice is another factor to consider in choosing a provider to treat your gum disease. There are many excellent periodontists who have just begun their own practice after completing the certification process. These new graduates are likely to be up to date on the most modern treatment protocols. However, they may lack experience with non-standard or more complex cases. You’ll also have a more difficult time finding reviews online from satisfied (or dissatisfied) patients regarding the standard of care at a new practice.
On the other hand, a periodontist who has been in business a long time but doesn’t keep up with all the latest advances may not offer top-of-the-line treatment either. Your best bet is to find a top periodontist who has been in practice for many years but who also places a high priority on continuing education and research. Some of the most respected specialists will be those who have participated in and published recent peer-reviewed journal articles on periodontics.
Even within the field of periodontistry, there are many areas of additional specialization. Some practitioners focus on treating gum disease using mostly non-surgical interventions. Others have experience with complex and lengthy procedures such as gum grafting or bone regeneration along with the placement of dental implants. There are also periodontists who crossover into the field of cosmetic dentistry by performing gum revision and contouring to create a more even and attractive smile for patients who don’t necessarily have any gum disease. The top periodontist for your procedure is the one who has the best track record for treatment success with cases like yours.
This is something you can only assess during an in-person consultation. Periodontal disease is often a condition that takes many sessions to effectively treat. You could be seeing this specialist for many, many years for ongoing maintenance. The periodontist and his or her staff members need to be emotionally supportive so you stay on track with treatment. If you dread visiting the periodontist because you feel like you aren’t being shown compassion or respect, you are likely to stop going. A top periodontist will take time to fully explain both the recommended treatment plan and the rationale behind it. The staff should make every effort to ease any anxiety you feel and encourage you in following your at-home oral hygiene plan to ensure the success of your treatment.
Your general dentist may be able to refer you to a top periodontist who has a history of providing top-notch patient care. Since your periodontist will need to communicate well with your general dentist about your treatment, choosing a specialist your general dentist trusts is often a good option. However, also understand that some general dentists will refer you to a periodontist because they are golf buddies, friends from school or simply conveniently located in the same building. These are not good enough reasons to go that particular periodontist. This is why today, it’s “buyer beware” and you should do your homework and research the internet to help you find the best specialist for you.
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