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Periodontist Job Description, Career as a Periodontist, Salary, Employment

Definition and Nature of the Work, Education and Training Requirements, Getting the Job

Education and Training: PhD

Average Salary: $95,000 Annually

Job Outlook: Very Good

Job Description

Periodontology is a dental specialty, and therefore periodontists are required a certain level of expertise. At the core, they work on diagnosing and treating health issues with the gums, but their job is far more involved than that. They work to treat any gum conditions such as gingivitis, but their job becomes far more involved than just that. As they require a special level of education, they are required to understand and know the gums inside and out.

A great deal of their job is spent working within patient care directly. They meet with patients who are usually referred onto them by their regular dentists. As this is a very specialized area of dentistry, it is something that a regular dentist is not able to help with and therefore referrals are necessary. It is important to remember that a big part of the job of a periodontist is to build up relationships with dentists, as the referrals will become a very important part of their business.

Along with general patient care, periodontists work to provide any sort of treatment necessary. This may involve a simple procedure, or may become a more involved surgery. They may work through cosmetic treatments or may work through necessary implants. They handle the patient consultations and then any of the follow up work that is involved. They are always working to get rid of or prevent gum disease or conditions on any level.

As most periodontists work for themselves in their own practice, they must also handle all of the administration work that comes along with this. They are responsible for marketing their practice and for handling all of the financials. They are also responsible for hiring and maintaining their own staff, which becomes a very important part of their practice and overall reputation. In this situation, they work to balance out their work with patients with their work to establish and maintain their own practice.

Education and Training Requirements

Though the path of a periodontist starts out with a bachelor’s degree, this is only the beginning of the rather lengthy educational requirements. From there, they must go onto dental school and successfully graduate from that so that they move on in their educational path. Though regular dentists may stop here, periodontists have to go on for a great deal more education. They are required to serve three years specializing in periodontics and usually earn a PhD . This is a specialized career within dentistry and therefore requires a high level of education. It should be expected that there will be a certain level of ongoing education to keep current, as a license is required to practice in most states. This ongoing education requirement may often be accomplished through conferences, seminars, or even classes.

Getting the Job

Initially a periodontist may expect to get a job after they fulfill all of their educational requirements, but this is only at the beginning. This may put them in a situation where they are working as part of a dental office or similar type of practice on a smaller scale. As they move forward, they need to gain experience, build a client base, and work on building relationships with dentists so that they may receive referrals for new clients. To get the job moving forward, experience will play a key factor in this ability. As most periodontists will wish to work for themselves, they will want to perfect their skill and build up their client base to open and run a successful practice.

Job Prospects, Employment Outlook, and Career Development

As this is a very specialized area of dentistry, there is great potential for those who are interested in it as a career. There are expected to be great opportunities for those entering the field, and those wishing to take over an existing practice. Dentistry in general is expected to grow quite substantially over the next decade, and this specialty is expected to grow faster than usual. This means great opportunities for those already in the field and those wishing to enter it.

Working Conditions and Environment

Most of the time, a periodontist can expect to work in a dentist type of office. They may maintain an office of their own to handle business or administrative issues, as well as any necessary research. They will often move throughout from patient consultation rooms to handle their patient load for the day. They will also move to surgery rooms if there is a need for that. This can be a stressful job in some instances as patients may have rather severe health issues that warrant extensive work. They need to be able to work well under pressure and to handle the needs of their patients, whatever they are. They must be able to multitask well to handle all of the different needs of the patients that come into their office, as well as whatever it takes to keep the practice running.

Salary and Benefits

Though the average salary of a periodontist is generally around $95,000, this can vary quite dramatically. The salary earned is based on the geographical location that they work within, and most especially the level of experience that they have. The years of experience can mean a rather dramatic increase in salary earned, and can mean over $200,000 in some instances. If a periodontist works on their own, then they are often responsible for handling their own benefits. If however they work for an employer directly, they may expect to earn a rather generous benefits package including paid time off, health insurance, and a retirement account.

Where to Go for More Information

American Academy of Periodontology
737 N. Michigan Avenue, Suite 800
Chicago, IL 60611-6660

American Dental Association
211 East Chicago Ave.
Chicago, IL 60611-2678

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Job Descriptions and Careers, Career and Job Opportunities, Career Search, and Career Choices and ProfilesHealth & Medicine