What is the difference between a periodontist and an oral surgeon?
Understanding the difference between a periodontist and an oral surgeon can be quite confusing, as they both perform oral procedures yet specialize in different aspects of dentistry. Knowing the difference between these two specialists is crucial, especially if you’re about to book an appointment for surgery.
According to the Canadian Academy of Periodontology, a periodontist specializes in oral implants and maintaining the proper health of soft and hard tissues in the mouth. This means they look after your gums, which act as a foundational support for your teeth. A periodontist has typically completed three years of post-graduate studies after completing dental school.
If you’ve developed an early case of gum disease, your dentist will be able to treat it. But if your case begins to worsen and you develop periodontitis (an advanced form of gum disease), you’ll need to visit a qualified periodontist, who will be able to assess the situation and organize a plan of action. A periodontist can perform a variety of treatments including a root surface debridement, root planing, and scaling.
A periodontist is qualified to surgically imbed oral implants. But what is an implant exactly? According to the American Academy of Periodontology, an implant is an artificial root surgically placed in your jaw that holds a replacement tooth. Implants are typically suited for individuals who’ve lost their teeth due to advanced cases of periodontal disease. With the help of modern technology, implants can look natural and patients look like they’ve never had any dental work done before.
Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon
Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons (commonly referred to as OMFS) essentially perform a wide variety of surgical procedures in regards to the jaw, face and mouth. According to the Canadian Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, an OMFS can fix birth defects, treat traumatic jaw injuries, remove cancerous tumours in the mouth, and perform complex tooth extractions. An oral surgeon can also administer various forms of anaesthesia.
To become an OMFS, it requires several years of extra schooling after graduating from dental school. In Canada, it takes approximately six additional years of schooling and residency placement. Your regular dentist is not qualified to perform oral surgery, so if you require a procedure, your dentist will refer you to an OMFS.
The bottom line is that a periodontist focuses on implants and gum health, while an oral and maxillofacial surgeon can perform a wide variety of surgical procedures on the mouth, jaw, and face. While some of their functions may overlap at certain times, periodontics and oral surgery occupy different divisions within the realm of dentistry.
If you’re currently suffering from gum disease or require dental implants, you can always rely Les Parodontistes, with over 25 years of experience combined between owners Dr. Michel Couture and Dr. Romina Perri. With offices located in downtown Montreal and Brossard, both specialists serve the Montreal area and are leaders within the periodontics industry.