Difference Between a Periodontist and a Dentist

When it comes to the world of oral healthcare, there are a wide variety of generalists and specialists, and each will have their own title. Some of these may sound similar, while others are completely unique. Today, we’re going to discuss one of the most common questions we hear at Vero Implants & Periodontics in Vero Beach, FL, which is “what’s the difference between a periodontist and a dentist?”


A dentist is a person who does not have a dental specialty. They see all types of patients for all types of dental care. When you go to your 6-month check-up, you will see a dentist there. These professionals have a wide range of knowledge of many areas of dental care.

Much like you visit a general or family doctor when you are feeling ill, you visit a general or family dentist when your oral health is well.


If you have a particular issue that needs more attention, your dentist in Vero Beach may refer you to a specialist. A specialist will have more in-depth knowledge about the problem you’re facing and will be better able to help you recover your dental health. One such Vero Beach dental specialist is a periodontist. In these cases, the doctor will specialize in caring for the gums and tissues that surround the teeth. The most common condition a periodontist will deal with is periodontitis. According to the American Dental Association, 42% of adults aged 30 or older have some level of periodontitis, either mild, moderate, or severe. It happens when bacteria enters the gumline and causes an infection.

Red, inflamed gums are the first sign of periodontitis. Bleeding when flossing at home or being prodded during a dental cleaning is also a common symptom. Without treatment, the gums will recede, no longer protecting the teeth and jaw bone, which will lead to tooth and jaw bone loss. Without teeth or a jaw bone, you won’t be able to eat, smile, sing, or talk to your loved ones!

This is a chronic infection that needs constant treatment to prevent the infection from coming back. Thankfully, a simple routine of flossing and brushing may be all you need to keep your teeth and gums healthy!

How They Work Together

No matter what oral health concerns you have, or if you have no concerns at all, you should visit your Vero Beach dentist every 6 months for an exam and cleaning. This is the best way to stay ahead of any issues that could turn into big problems. Regular visits also help your dentist get to know you and your teeth so they can set a baseline for what’s “normal” in your case.

In the event the dentist finds periodontitis or another gum-related disease, you may be referred to a specialist. Mild cases likely won’t need this referral and can be treated simply enough by your regular dentist. However, more severe cases will likely require a dental specialist with more intensive training and experience in handling gum-related illnesses.

Your primary dentist will be able to refer you to a periodontist in Vero Beach, FL. These two doctors will share files and notes of your case so each is fully aware of what’s going on.

Periodontal Treatments

In mild cases, a deeper cleaning or medicated mouthwash may be all that’s needed to stop the infection from spreading. In more advanced cases, the periodontist may recommend implants or dentures to restore a healthy smile. If you need dental implants, Vero Beach’s VIP Dental is the ideal place to go! We’ll make sure you’re treated well, fully understand your care, and get all your questions answered.

To learn more about your periodontal options and how VIP Dental can help, please contact us online or call 772-569-9700. You may also request your general dentist get in contact with us to discuss your case. We look forward to helping restore a beautiful, healthy smile to your face!