If your dentist suspects or diagnoses periodontal disease beyond the scope of his or her practice, you will be referred to a periodontal specialist, or periodontist. Periodontists are dentists who specialize in treatment of the gums and bones that support the teeth (the periodontium). Periodontists complete a three year post-graduate program after dental school in order to specialize in the treatment of periodontal diseases.
Cosmetic periodontal procedures and dental implants are also components of the periodontal specialty. The early stage of periodontal disease is generally reversible and is called gingivitis. Periodontitis affects the bone support of the teeth and can result in teeth loosening and eventually falling out. Decay and periodontal disease are the primary causes of tooth loss.