A periodontist is a dentist who specialises in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of periodontal disease (gum disease). Periodontists treat cases ranging from mild gingivitis to more severe periodontitis. They offer a wide range of treatments, such as scaling and root planing (the cleaning of infected root surfaces), root surface debridement (the removal of damaged tissue), and regenerative procedures (the reversal of lost bone and tissue).
When necessary, periodontists can also perform surgical procedures for patients with severe gum disease. Additionally, periodontists are trained in the placement, maintenance and repair of dental implants. They are also trained in cosmetic periodontal procedures.
Periodontal disease affects the gums, bone and other supporting tissues of the teeth. Although most individuals suffer gum inflammation from time to time, around 10% of the population appear to suffer from the more severe forms of the disease which cause loss of supporting bone. This can be diagnosed through regular dental check-ups and x-rays.