PERIODONTICS is a field of Dentistry specializing in the treatment of tissues that support the teeth such as the gingiva (gums) and bones. Periodontists also place dental implants, the metal posts that anchor prosthetic teeth to the bones of the maxilla and mandible. Although General Dentists may treat some of these conditions, Periodontists are specialized in this area. To become a Periodontist, one must first complete four years of training at an accredited dental school in order to secure a DMD (Doctor of Medicine in Dentistry) or DDS (Doctor of Dental Surgery) degree. The degrees are identical and allow the dentist to begin residency training in Periodontics. Most Periodontics programs last 2 to 3 years and culminate in a subspecialty certificate in Periodontics. Qualified specialists may then become eligible for certification by the American Board of Periodontics. Periodontists perform both noninvasive and surgical procedures, typically working in private offices or as part of larger dental groups.
Negligence claims in Periodontistry typically stem from claims alleging a failure to diagnose or appropriately treat gingival disease. More commonly, Periodontists are called as expert witnesses to explore issues of causation when General Dentists fail to appropriately diagnose and/or refer complex cases that required specialized Periodontal care.