A periodontist is a specialty dentist who treats gum issues, implants placements and performs some cosmetic procedures. Residencies may lead to either post-doctoral certificates or master's degrees upon completion of all didactic and clinical requirements.
This program requires a dentistry degree or dental school enrollment and GRE scores. Students may be required to do a thesis or research project to graduate.
Postdoctoral Certificate in Periodontics
A graduate certificate program in periodontics prepares students to independently practice all clinical skills related to the field. Upon completion, students are eligible to sit for the certifying examination administered by the American Board of Periodontology. Applicants for a residency program in periodontics must have already completed their dentistry degree or be enrolled in dental school. Current dentists must also have an active license within the United States or Canada. Additionally, schools have varying guidelines regarding grade point averages and U.S. National Board Examination minimum scores. Other requirements include completion of a background check and student health service clearance. Students spend much of their time receiving hands-on training in clinical practice and attend a variety of lectures and seminars. Courses generally include the following:
- Head and neck anatomy
- Surgical pathology
- Oral medicine
- Oral medicine and pain control
- Oral biochemistry
Master of Science in Periodontics
Students interested in pursuing a career in academic periodontics, including teaching and research within the field, may be interested in a master's program. All clinical training benchmarks remain the same as the certificate program, but additional research work is generally required. Students complete a thesis or research project, in addition to successfully completing the clinical training portion of the program. Additionally, the following courses may be offered due to the research focus:
- Research methodology
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
The need for some dental specialties, such as periodontist, was expected to increase approximately 18% between 2014 and 2024, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov), and the mean salary, as of 2015, was $171,040. Dental care is becoming more frequent as more people have dental insurance and the baby boomer population ages, but due to the increase in dental hygienists and improved technology, periodontists are able to complete comparable amounts of work in less time.
Continuing Education Options
Almost every state requires dentists to obtain a specified number of continuing education hours in order to maintain licensure. On average, the expectation is 15-25 hours per year.
Dentists who want to specialize in periodontics can do so with a master's degree or a postdoctoral certificate degree. Students will have to do a thesis and an extensive residency in order to graduate from the programs.