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General Dentist vs. Periodontist in Tysons: What Makes Them Different?

Do you know the difference between a general dentist and a periodontist in Tysons? If you have a toothache, who should you see to take care of the problem? What about gum disease? If you’re unsure, you’re not alone. While most people assume a general dentist will address all aspects of oral care, that is incorrect. There’s general dentists, orthodontists, periodontists, and other various types of specialized dentists. To help you better understand the difference, let us explain exactly what a periodontist does and how they can help you achieve better oral health.


If you’re having trouble determining which type of dentist you should see, we want to be able to help clear that up for you. Think of it this way: there’s the entire mouth and then there are the gums. A dentist will clean and care for the mouth in its entirety; however, a periodontist specializes in the area of the gums. Here are a few other ways to tell the difference between the two:


  • Can diagnose and treat tooth decay or damaged gums
  • Removes and cleans teeth and handles all routine checkups and cleanings
  • Provides maintenance to an individual’s teeth and examines for diseases like oral cancer
  • Offers cosmetic treatment solutions such as teeth whitening or porcelain veneer placement
  • Completes four years of dental school that includes coursework and clinical experience
  • Must earn a dental license


  • Sees more complex and severe cases of gum disease
  • Is trained in advanced surgical techniques such as periodontal plastic surgery or dental implant placement
  • Completes four years of dental school as well as three additional years of postdoctoral training in periodontics
  • Must earn a dental license as well as an additional state license specific to periodontics in Tysons


If your general dentist refers you to a periodontist, it is because the problem you have is more severe or complex than the dentist can treat. If your gums are deteriorating, receding, or if you have dental implants, the best person to see is a periodontist. Remember, gum disease can vary from minor to severe, and if it is gingivitis you’re combating, a general dentist will be able to treat the problem. However, if your gum disease has progressed to periodontitis, an advanced stage that often includes bone and tooth loss, it will be necessary for you to see a periodontist. They are experts in treating all types of gum disease and gum-related problems.

Another great reason to see a periodontist is if you have any missing teeth, they are skilled in dental implant placement should it be determined that is the right treatment for you.

Other reasons you might choose to see a periodontist is:

  • You have a family history of gum disease
  • Your teeth are sensitive, and your gums have receded to expose the root
  • There is a change in your bite pattern because of loose teeth
  • You have chronic bad breath

If you’re unsure how to go about seeing a periodontist, many dental offices have a general dentist and periodontist on staff to make it easier for patients who need the expertise of both.

About the Practice

Avanti Dentistry provides patients with a spa-like atmosphere, complete with heated towels and massage chairs in each room. We want you to feel relaxed and comfortable during your visit. Whether you are preparing for a general cleaning, teeth whitening, dental crown placement, or braces fitting, we’re here to make sure you receive the highest quality of service. To learn more, contact us via our website or by calling (703) 763-1301.

by: Dr. Farshad Farhoumand.

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