When you experience an ordinary toothache or some bleeding in your gums, you typically go to your family dentist. You probably do the same if your teeth become stained or when you need a cavity filled. However, in some situations, you may need more help than your family dentist can provide.

That’s where the difference between a dentist and a periodontist comes into play. The primary difference between a dentist and a periodontist has to do with your gums. A dentist is more of a general professional. He’ll often refer you to an expert, like a periodontist if you have an issue that needs special attention.

A periodontist is the one who typically diagnoses gum disease and periodontitis. Periodontitis is a disease that affects the gums and the jawbones. This specialist can also help treat or prevent any other issue affecting the soft tissue.

Read on to learn more about dentists and periodontists.

What Do Dentists Do?

According to the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO), dentists take care of our overall oral health. We visit dentists regularly for routine check-ups. Dentists detect and treat issues such as:

  • Cavities
  • Oral hygiene issues
  • Mild gum disease

They can also extract severely damaged teeth. Furthermore, dentists can improve the appearance and function of teeth by applying any of the following:

  • Bonding
  • Veneers
  • Crowns

A dentist can also check inside your mouth for signs of deteriorating oral health. He advises you on how to improve the situation. If your dentist identifies an issue that he can’t treat, he’ll refer you to an appropriate specialist like a periodontist.

What Do Periodontists Do?

A periodontist usually handles more complex or severe cases. For example, if you have severe gum disease, you need to see a periodontist for diagnosis and treatment. The treatment may entail a non-surgical procedure or oral surgery.

Such advanced treatments mean a periodontist must have training in advanced surgical techniques. These include:

  • Regenerative surgery
  • Dental implant placement
  • Periodontal plastic surgery

So, next time you have a dental problem, you’ll be able to decide whether to visit a general dentist or a periodontist.