Is becoming a periodontist right for me?

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What do periodontists do?

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How to become a Periodontist

Becoming a periodontist involves several steps, including obtaining a bachelor's degree, completing dental school, obtaining a dental license, and completing a periodontics residency program. Here is a detailed description of the process:

  • Obtain a bachelor's Degree: The first step to becoming a periodontist is to obtain a bachelor's degree from an accredited university or college. While there is no specific major required for dental school admission, it is recommended that students take courses in biology, chemistry, physics, and other related subjects.
  • Complete Dental School: After obtaining a bachelor's degree, the next step is to attend dental school. This typically takes four years to complete, and students will receive a Doctor of Dental Medicine (DMD) or Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) degree upon graduation.
  • Obtain a Dental License: After completing dental school, graduates must obtain a license to practice dentistry in their state. This typically involves passing a written and clinical exam.
  • Complete a Periodontics Residency Program: To become a periodontist, dentists must complete a residency program in periodontics. This program typically takes three years to complete and involves extensive training in the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of periodontal disease. During the residency program, periodontics residents will learn how to perform procedures such as scaling and root planing, gingivectomy, periodontal surgery, and dental implant placement. They will also receive training in radiology, anatomy, and other related subjects.
  • Obtain Certification: After completing a periodontics residency program, periodontists must obtain certification from the American Board of Periodontology.
  • Continuing Education: Periodontists must also participate in continuing education courses to maintain their certification and stay up-to-date on the latest research and techniques in periodontics.

Board Certification
Certification is not required to practice periodontics, but it is a mark of distinction and demonstrates a periodontist's commitment to excellence in the field. It may also be required by some employers or institutions for certain positions or privileges. To become certified as a periodontist, a dentist must complete a periodontics residency program and pass the American Board of Periodontology's certification examination.

The certification process involves two parts: a written examination and an oral examination. The written examination consists of multiple-choice questions that cover the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of periodontal disease, as well as related topics such as implant dentistry, pharmacology, and systemic diseases. The oral examination consists of a series of case presentations, where the candidate must demonstrate their ability to diagnose and treat periodontal disease and related conditions.

To be eligible to take the certification examination, the dentist must have completed an accredited periodontics residency program and be licensed to practice dentistry in their state. They must also submit a case presentation that demonstrates their ability to diagnose and treat periodontal disease.

Once a dentist has passed both the written and oral examinations, they are awarded certification by the American Board of Periodontology. Certification is valid for a period of six years, after which the periodontist must demonstrate their continued competence by completing a recertification process.

Continuing Education
Continuing education is an essential component of professional development for periodontists. Periodontics is a rapidly evolving field, with new research and techniques emerging regularly. Continuing education allows periodontists to stay up-to-date on the latest advancements in their field and provides opportunities to expand their knowledge and skills.

Continuing education requirements vary by state and by professional organization. The American Academy of Periodontology (AAP) recommends that periodontists earn at least 50 hours of continuing education every two years to maintain their membership. Some state dental boards may also require a certain number of continuing education hours for license renewal. Periodontists should check with their state dental board and professional organization for specific requirements.

Here are some common ways that periodontists can participate in continuing education:

  • Professional Meetings and Conferences: Periodontists can attend professional meetings and conferences to learn about new research, techniques, and products in the field of periodontics. These meetings also provide opportunities to network with other periodontists and share best practices.
  • Webinars and Online Courses: Online learning platforms offer a range of courses and webinars on various topics in periodontics. These courses are often convenient for periodontists who are unable to attend in-person meetings and provide a flexible way to earn continuing education credits.
  • Journals and Publications: Periodontists can stay up-to-date on the latest research in the field by reading professional journals and publications. Many journals offer online access, making it easy for periodontists to stay informed.
  • Hands-On Workshops: Hands-on workshops provide periodontists with the opportunity to learn new techniques and skills through practical experience. These workshops may cover topics such as implant placement, bone grafting, or soft tissue grafting.