Orthodontists and periodontists are two different types of dental professionals who specialize in different areas of oral health. Orthodontists focus on the formation or growth of teeth, while periodontists treat the gums that surround and support the tooth. In some cases, a patient may be referred to a periodontist by an orthodontist if they notice signs of gum disease or if they are at risk of losing a tooth due to gum problems. It is possible for a patient to see an orthodontist who then refers them to a periodontist.
If a patient has not been to the dentist for some time, early gum disease or gingivitis may be present. During the initial consultation, an orthodontist may take x-rays that reveal any issues with the jawbone. The orthodontist can then refer the patient to a periodontist for further evaluation before beginning treatment. In some cases, a gum problem may even occur during orthodontic treatment that requires the attention of a periodontist.