People often use many terms to talk about the medical professionals who care for teeth. However, not every label means the same thing. For example, a dentist is completely different from a periodontist. It is important to understand how they differ so you understand what sort of care each can offer to you, which will enable you to make the best choice when choosing which type of doctor to see. Dentist Defined A dentist has a broad area of focus. Dentists will see patients for a range of dental issues, including those with the teeth, gums and other areas in the mouth. They will do fillings, root canals, cleanings and other general dental care tasks, including cosmetic work. When it comes to education, a dentist must complete four years of dental school on top of earning a bachelor’s degree. Periodontist Defined A periodontist is a specialist. Like a dentist, a periodontist in Palm Beach Gardens, FL, will have completed an undergraduate degree and four years of dental school, but he or she will also have to complete three years of specialized training. This training will enable a periodontist to prepare for the specialized care of the gums beyond what is learned in dental school. Periodontists will work on cases of severe gum disease in Palm Beach Gardens, FL. Often patients are referred to this specialist by a dentist because severe gum disease cases may require intensive care that a dentist is not trained to do, such as scaling, surgery or periodontal plastic surgery. As you are searching for a dental professional, you should understand that not every title means the same thing. A dentist can be great for regular tooth care needs, but if you have issues with your gums, you may want to seek the care of a qualified periodontist. Give our office a call today to set up your appointment.