What is a Periodontist

A periodontist is a dental specialist who focuses on diagnosing and treating the structures supporting the teeth, including the gums, alveolar bone, and cementum, as well as the periodontal ligament. Their work can including the placing of dental implants, treatment of gum inflammation or recession, and various cosmetic procedures for the teeth.

Work Environment

The work environment for most periodontists is quite similar to that of a dentist. The majority are self-employed, running their own business or operating with a few other dentists or periodontists. The will generally have a series of patient consultation and treatment areas that they will move through, improving the speed and flow of treatment.

Often their treatment will involve easy matters that can be done quickly or by an assistant. There will be occasion for surgery, however, in order to place dental implants, or for gum grafts in the case of the receding gums.

Work Schedule

Generally a periodontist will have a set, regular schedule, with stable work hours. Rarely will emergency work be needed, though on the odd occasion such can happen; infections after a surgery, for example, are uncommon, but may require seeing a patient on a weekend.

Their daily schedule can be quite busy, however, with many patients to see and treat. Some patients may also have more severe issues, requiring extensive work, so they may find some days quite stressful.

Periodontist Job Outlook and Prospects

Periodontists are a sought-after group. With increases in a need for periodontal work, as well as a greater understanding of the role dental health plays in overall health care, there is an ever-increasing demand for periodontists, leading to an expected growth rate of 17 percent between 2012 and 2022, much faster than the average for all occupations. This does not include upcoming retirements or potential added growth due to research into periodontal disease and treatment, so the job prospects are quite promising.

Periodontist Salary: Factors and Influences

Like many medical professions, a periodontist’s salary is influenced by numerous factors working in tandem. Experience and geographic location are foremost among these factors, followed closely by the industry in which the periodontist works. Education and specialization can offer some differences to salaries, though to a lesser extent than other fields. Due to the nature of the field, there is little room for positional growth in periodontist salary.

All this combined brings an average salary for a periodontist to float around the $170,300 range. The variation is wide, however, spanning from $76,800 to more than $250,000.

Education and Specialization 

Education can have a moderate effect on the salary of a periodontist. The requirements to be certified begin with a bachelor’s degree, followed by a degree from an accredited dental program, earning either a DMS or DDS. Following licensing to practice dentistry, a periodontist will need to complete another 3 to 4 years of study or training in a program specifically in the field of periodontics.

The extra education and training required means that perdiodontists earn significantly more on average than general dentists, who earn around $149,000. A more prestigious school attended can earn one a higher-paying position in a dental clinic, or make one more desirable for referrals, as well.

A periodontist who sub-specializes in a field such as dental implants or gum treatments can also earn a marginally increased salary. However, it should be noted that the majority of periodontists engage in all forms of periodontry.

Experience and Position 

Experience is one of the primary factors influencing a periodontist’s salary, creating ranges of more than $100,000. A starting periodontist, for instance, can earn around $80,000, while one who has more than fifteen years’ experience can earn more than $200,000.

As mentioned, position is not a factor for periodontists, given that the vast majority of those in the field are self-employed. Those working in a dental clinic will often be the only periodontist in the clinic.


The industry worked can be a relatively major factor for periodontists; those working in a general medical or surgical hospital can expect to earn around $131,980, while those in the Federal Executive Branch can see a wage of $147,920. Working in an office with other physicians will see a salary of $159,970, but a dental office, either alone or with other dental professionals, brings the highest wages at $198,300.


Location is the other primary factor influencing a periodontist’s salary, with those in Connecticut earning an average of $98,280, while those in Oregon earn $225,010. Ohio has even greater wages, at $225,850, and Tennessee has the best at $230,260. Even larger gains can be seen on the metropolitan level, with Columbus, Ohio showing an average salary of $243,180.