Education and Training Requirements

High School

If you are interested in becoming a periodontist, you should begin preparing for this career with a course of study emphasizing math and science, preferably advanced placement or honors courses. Algebra, calculus, chemistry, physics, trigonometry, biology, and health are all solid baseline courses for college preparation.

Postsecondary Training

To enter dental school, applicants need significant college course work in the sciences, a bachelor's degree, and a good score on the Dental Admissions Test ( After completing four years of dental school, dentists who want to specialize in periodontics attend a three-year graduate training program.

Certification, Licensing, and Special Requirements

Certification or Licensing

Before entering practice, dentists must pass a state licensing examination. Qualified candidates may also seek board certification from the American Board of Periodontology.

Experience, Skills, and Personality Traits

Periodontists gain experience while in dental school through intensive lab work. After graduating from an accredited dental school, they gain further experience in a three-year graduate training program for periodontology.

Periodontists must be detail oriented, methodical, and compassionate as many patients will have fears of procedures such as gum grafts, scalings, and dental implants. These specialists must have the focus to spend hours performing procedures in the confines of a patient's mouth. Periodontists who enter private practice will need entreprenurial skills.

Periodontists, like other dentists, must have excellent hand-eye coordination and the ability to do finely detailed work.