Employment Prospects


The American Academy of Periodontology has a membership of 7,500, most of whom are periodontists in practice. Like general dentists, three out of four of periodontists are in private practice. They may have a solo practice or work in a group practice with other dentists. Dentists serving in the military treat members of the military and their families. The U.S. Public Health Service also employs dentists to provide care or conduct research. Periodontists may also teach full time or part time in dental schools. Hospitals employ dentists to treat hospitalized patients. Periodontists may work in scientific research or administration at universities, private or government research institutes, and dental product manufacturers. 

Starting Out

After completing dental school and an advanced training program in periodontology, most periodontists either start their own practices or join an established practice. While many dentists choose to have their own practices, start-up costs can be steep. New dentists often need to borrow money to buy or lease office space and buy expensive equipment.

Advancement Prospects

Periodontists in private practice advance their careers by building their reputation among the general dentists who refer patients to specialists. To establish a good reputation, it is important to communicate effectively and coordinate treatment with general dentists.

Periodontists who teach at dental schools may advance in academic rank and eventually chair the department of periodontology.

Experienced periodontists and periodontal researchers can become more prominent through professional activities such as writing scientific books and articles and being active in professional organizations such as the American Academy of Periodontology.

Tips for Entry

Arrange to speak to with a dentist or periodontist about their experiences in dental school.

Read more about the Dental Admissions Test,, which you will be required to take before entering dental school.

Review the list of accredited dental schools,, to be aware of where you might need to move after you receive your bachelor's degree.