If you are struggling with periodontal disease, it’s important to seek treatment by a periodontist to resolve the problem. Failure to do so could potentially result in other, more serious medical problems such as diabetes or cardiovascular disease. But not all periodontists are treated equally. While some simply complete their studies to become periodontists, others take the extra step of becoming board certified by the American Board of Periodontology (ABP). Seeking treatment by a board certified periodontist will ensure that you receive the best treatment possible by those that are most qualified. But what is a board certified periodontist and why exactly should you seek one for treatment?
What is a Periodontist?
Before you understand what board certification entails, you need to know what a periodontist is. A periodontist is a dentist who specializes in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of gum disease, otherwise known as periodontal disease. Periodontists are extensively trained in these specific areas which allow them to be experts in dealing with periodontal disease. An important part of periodontology is being familiar with the latest techniques in dealing with, diagnosing, and treating periodontal disease and having the appropriate training that allows them to perform cosmetic periodontal procedures.
Periodontists usually can perform a wide variety of treatments that are related to periodontal disease which includes scaling and root planing, cleaning the infected surface of the root. They often will be called upon to treat the more problematic periodontal cases like severe gum disease or helping someone with a complex medical history.
What is a Board Certified Periodontist?
As previously mentioned, not all periodontists are equal. While all periodontists must complete a four-year undergraduate program and graduate from an accredited dental school to gain a Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) or a Doctor of Medical Dentistry (DMD) degree, and complete three to seven years of training in an American Dental Association (ADA)- accredited periodontology residency program, those that wish to become board certified must go further.
Some periodontists decide to take the board certification examination which is offered by the American Board of Periodontology once each year. Passing the examination and becoming board certified indicates that a periodontist has made significant achievements beyond the required educational programs of their specialty. According to the American Board of Periodontology, becoming a board certified periodontist means that the dentist has “demonstrated comprehensive mastery of all phases of periodontal disease and treatment.”
To remain board certified, the periodontist must recertify every six years. The recertification process involves continuing education requirements and additional professional activities that show they are up to date on the latest techniques in practicing periodontics.
If a periodontist is board certified, they are considered a diplomate of the American Board of Periodontology. This means that they are able to work in dental schools, hospitals, and the business sector, as well as state, national, and international agencies. They are also able to perform research like testing emerging therapies and studying the relationships between periodontal disease and systematic diseases. Since being a diplomate of the American Board of Periodontology is synonymous with being board certified, diplomates must go through recertification every six years.
Why Do You Need a Board Certified Periodontist?
There is no requirement for dentists who wish to practice periodontics to be board certified. Even general dentists can treat periodontal disease and a periodontal practice can be opened without it. However, it is strongly recommended that if you’re looking for someone to treat periodontal disease, that you find a board certified periodontist.
Being board certified means that the periodontist has been approved by the American Board of Periodontology, one of the nine boards that are recognized by the American Dental Association. Their goal is to improve the standards and advance the science of periodontology. Achieving board certification means that they are up to date on the latest treatment techniques and periodontal therapies.
Essentially, board certification is a way for the American Board of Periodontology to identify the experts in the field for those seeking periodontal treatment. Board certification ensures that the periodontist is practicing at the highest standard of care. And because they must be recertified every six years, they are guaranteed to be keeping up with the latest research and techniques.
While any dentist with the proper training can treat periodontal disease, only those that are board certified should be considered for treatment. Being board certified means that they are up to date on all the latest techniques and that you’ll be receiving the top standard of care. If you’re in need of periodontal treatment, come see Dr. Brown at Vero Implants and Periodontics.