Have you ever found yourself wondering, “What does a periodontist do?” You’re not alone! A periodontist is a dentist who specializes in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of periodontal disease, and in the placement of dental implants. In this blog post, we’ll dive into all the specifics of what a periodontist does, so you’ll know exactly where to turn should the need arise.

If you need a periodontist in Utah, we can help you! We have offices in Salt Lake City and South Jordan full of experienced staff to help you. Click the button below to request an appointment or give us a call!

What Does a Periodontist Do? 

A periodontist is a dental specialist who focuses on the health of the gums and the structures that support your teeth. They assist in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of periodontal disease, which is a fancy term for gum disease. Periodontists are also skilled in the placement of dental implants, which are artificial tooth roots used to support replacement teeth. Periodontists play a vital role when it comes to maintaining a healthy mouth. By addressing issues like gum inflammation, recession, and bone loss, periodontists work to ensure that your teeth have a strong foundation. They also provide guidance on how to maintain good oral hygiene practices to prevent future problems. 

Periodontist vs. Dentist 

When it comes to dental care, people are often confused about the difference between a periodontist and a general dentist. Both are essential for maintaining your oral health, but they have different areas of expertise.


  • General practitioners in oral health care 
  • Focus on overall dental health, including teeth, gums, and mouth 
  • Perform routine check-ups, cleanings, fillings, and basic dental procedures 
  • Can diagnose and treat common dental issues 
  • Refer patients to specialists, like periodontists, for more complex conditions 


  • Specialists in the health of gums and structures supporting teeth
  • Have additional training in diagnosing, preventing, and treating periodontal disease 
  • Expertise in placing dental implants 
  • Handle complex cases involving severe gum disease or bone loss 
  • Work closely with dentists to provide comprehensive care for patients with advanced periodontal needs 

Types of Periodontist Procedures 

Some common types of periodontist procedures include: 

  1. Scaling and Root Planing: This deep cleaning procedure removes plaque and tartar from below the gum line and smooths the roots of the teeth to help prevent further buildup and infection. 
  2. Gum Graft Surgery: This procedure involves taking tissue from one part of the mouth and attaching it to an area where the gums have receded. This helps to protect the roots of the teeth and improve the appearance of the gum line. 
  3. Dental Implant Placement: Periodontists are skilled in placing dental implants. This procedure can help restore function and aesthetics to areas where teeth are missing. 
  4. Pocket Reduction Surgery: Also known as flap surgery, this procedure involves making small incisions in the gum to expose the roots of the teeth and remove plaque and tartar buildup. The gums are then repositioned to fit more snugly around the teeth, reducing the depth of periodontal pockets where bacteria can accumulate. 
  5. Bone Grafting: In cases of severe bone loss due to periodontal disease, a periodontist may perform bone grafting to rebuild the bone structure and provide a stable foundation for dental implants or natural teeth. 
  6. Crown Lengthening: This procedure involves reshaping the gum and bone tissue to expose more of the tooth’s surface, often in preparation for a dental crown or other restorative treatment.
  7. Periodontal Maintenance: After initial treatment for periodontal disease, periodontists often provide ongoing maintenance care to monitor the health of the gums and prevent the recurrence of the disease.

What Periodontists Don’t Do? 

Certain dental procedures fall outside the scope of periodontal practice. For example, they typically don’t perform routine dental procedures such as fillings, crowns, or root canals on natural teeth, as these are generally handled by general dentists. Periodontists also don’t specialize in orthodontics, so they don’t usually apply braces or other devices to straighten teeth. Additionally, while they are experts in treating gum disease and placing dental implants, they don’t usually focus on cosmetic dentistry procedures like teeth whitening or veneers. 

When to See a Periodontist 

Knowing when to see a periodontist is important for maintaining good oral health. Here are some signs that it might be time to schedule an appointment with a periodontal specialist: 

  • Bleeding Gums: If your gums bleed easily when you brush or floss, it could be a sign of gum disease that requires attention from a periodontist. 
  • Receding Gums: If you notice that your gums are pulling away from your teeth, exposing more of the tooth or the root, it’s a good idea to consult with a periodontist. 
  • Persistent Bad Breath: Chronic bad breath or a bad taste in your mouth can be indicators of periodontal disease. 
  • Loose Teeth: If your teeth feel loose or are shifting in your mouth, it could be a sign of advanced gum disease affecting the supporting structures of your teeth. 
  • Swollen or Tender Gums: Gums that are swollen, red, or tender to the touch can be symptoms of gum disease that a periodontist can address. 
  • Changes in Bite: If you notice changes in the way your teeth fit together when you bite, it could be due to changes in the gums or bone structure that a periodontist can evaluate. 
  • Deep Pockets: During a dental check-up, your dentist may measure the depth of the pockets between your teeth and gums. If these pockets are deeper than normal, it may indicate periodontal disease that requires treatment by a periodontist.
  • Family History: If you have a family history of gum disease, it’s a good idea to see a periodontist for regular check-ups and preventive care. 

If you experience any of these symptoms or have concerns about the health of your gums, it’s important to consult with a periodontist. Early intervention can help prevent more serious problems down the road.

What Does a Periodontist Do Conclusion 

Periodontists play an important role in maintaining the health of your gums and teeth. They specialize in diagnosing, treating, and preventing periodontal disease, as well as in placing dental implants. If you’re in need of a trusted and experienced periodontist in the Salt Lake City or South Jordan area, we at Utah Periodontal Specialists have an amazing reputation for a reason. Our expertise and commitment to patient care make us an excellent choice for anyone seeking top-notch periodontal treatment.