image of Dr King and Dr Godat

Periodontal Associates of Memphis takes the treatment of periodontal disease to the highest standard possible. We understand that gum disease can have many negative implications on your life. Untreated periodontal issues can lead to even more serious medical concerns such as heart problems and diabetes. This understanding and passion for helping others led to the decision our periodontists made to become board certified by the American Board of Periodontology, or ABP. We are the only dental office in Memphis that has two board certified periodontists on our team, Dr. Mitchel S. Godat and Dr. Grant T. King.

Understanding the Periodontal Specialty

Many of us have a strong grasp on what our various doctors and medical professionals take responsibility for when it comes to each patient’s health. The lines begin to become more defined as we get into specialists that focus on particular parts of the human body. In the world of oral health, a periodontist specializes in gum health. Preventing, diagnosing and treating gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, is the scope of a periodontist’s duties.

Periodontists such as our own Dr. King and Dr. Godat are experts in their field, receiving extensive training and education beyond the standard requirements. Given how sensitive gums are and how large of an impact they have on the rest of our health, periodontal research and methodologies are always evolving. Being a reputable and trusted periodontist means a never-ending commitment to staying updated on periodontal breakthroughs and best practices. Hands-on work is also needed in cases where cosmetic fixes are needed to treat the damage done by periodontal disease.

Aside from repairing damaged gums, periodontists perform many different procedures for prevention and treatment of gum disease. These include:

Family dentists will often bring on a periodontist for the implementation of tray delivery systems. These systems are used by patients to administer medication to the gums while at home. Periodontists are also called to the office for consultation on cases of severe gum disease or if the patient has other medical conditions that may be interacting with their gum health.

How a Periodontist Becomes Board Certified

The path to board certification for a periodontist is a long one. To start off, periodontists must first complete an undergraduate program at an accredited dental school. It takes four years of studying, research and examination before being able to graduate. After graduation, students are awarded the title of Doctor of Medical Dentistry or Doctor of Dental Surgery, DMD and DDS respectively.

Once a student has graduated with one of these distinctions, they transition their training to more specialized programs called residencies. Periodontal residencies must be accredited by the American Dental Association, or ADA. The residency can take three to seven years to complete training before participants are able to become licensed as periodontists. When a periodontist completes training and obtains their license, they can begin practicing periodontology in a private or public practice. Some doctors will stop here, but those truly committed to providing the best periodontal care possible will take it another step further.

The American Board of Periodontology was founded in 1939 to maintain a high level of care and research advancement amongst periodontists. In doing so, the ABP began establishing what it means to be a periodontist that is truly committed to the science and their patients. The certification process is done through an annual exam. The exam analyzes the achievements and credentials obtained by the periodontist that goes above and beyond the required schooling. While the certification lasts for six years after completion, many periodontists choose to renew their board certification each year.

The ABP states that those who have passed their exam and obtained board certification have “”demonstrated comprehensive mastery of all phases of periodontal disease and treatment.” To further show their confidence in their certification, each board certified periodontist is considered an American Board of Periodontology diplomate. This denomination allows for periodontists to work in a more active capacity. This may be at a dental school, government agency or with a research team to test new procedures and treatments of periodontal disease.

Why You Need a Board Certified Periodontist

Board certification for periodontists is more than an added level of expertise. It shows that your periodontist understands everything about their specialty and is able to provide the proper treatment. Periodontists that forgo board certification may not be as concerned about staying up to date on safe practices, leading to possible complications during treatment. Even general dentists that treat certain signs of gum disease will bring in a board certified periodontist to help with more severe or complex cases.

What sets ABP board certification apart from the rest is that the organization and their accreditation are both recognized by the ADA. There are less than 10 boards formally recognized by the American Dental Association as the requirements and standards are extremely stringent. Certification is regularly renewed so an ongoing commitment is made by every periodontist who wishes to maintain their status with the board.

You can seek periodontal treatment from nearly every dentist but you’ll receive varying levels of success. Putting your oral health as a top priority when finding a dental office will help you avoid unsafe treatment. You’ll also be able to find a doctor who has the training and experience required to properly administer periodontal services. Choosing to only work with board certified periodontists is choosing a doctor that respects, understands and addresses all of your periodontal concerns.

If you’re interested in receiving the most up-to-date periodontal treatment including surgery and the treatment of gum disease, please reach out to us here at Periodontal Associates of Memphis. Dr. Godat and Dr. King provide compassionate and transparent care for every patient they see.