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Periodontics/Periodontal hygientist


QUESTION: For the past year I have been going to my regular dentist whose hygienist does root planing and maintenance every 4 months. Last month the dentist said one area has gotten worse & that I should go to a periodontal dentist which I did.

Well, the periodontal dentist said I should have his "periodontal hygienist" do the maintenance as she is more qualified.  Of course it is a lot more expensive.

Do periodontal hygienists have more training then a regular hygienist? I thought I was having good work done at my regular dentist office. I am 70 yrs. old and do not have insurance.

ANSWER: All hygienists have the same basic education. How they spend their professional time impacts their impacts their capabilities and knowledge. A hygienist who works in a general practice spends a majority of her time treating healthy adults and children. She may only spend a small amount of time and therefore may have limited experience treating patients with more significant periodontal disease needs. A hygienist who works in a periodontist's  office  probably sends a great deal more time and therefore has more experience treating people with periodontal disease.  In addition she is exposed to the periodontists knowledge and is constantly learning from the periodontist.

A family physician and a cardiologist can both write a prescription for a heart medication, which one would you want managing your heart disease?  It is a similar analogy.

Best of luck
Dr. Scharf

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: What tools does your hygienist use for maintenance?  I want to compare what my dentist uses vs the periodontal hygienist.  As you probably notice I check things out - probably too much).

Helen, with all due  respect your question is irrelevant to what  are getting. Would you assume all teachers  are the same because all use the same  chalk
board?  If you found out a first year medical student, a surgical resident and a world famous surgeon all used a bard Parker 15 scalpel blade that they would all perform the same operation.  Every practitioner uses what ever instruments they like to do the job to the best of their abilities.   It is the magician and not the wand that makes the difference.  

Your dentist is recommending you go to  another office and spend your  money with another practitioner.  That takes income away from him and his family and yet you doubt that he has your best interests at heart.  It seems to me you have no trust in your doctor. Perhaps it is time for a second opinion.  
Best of luck
Dr. Scharf.  


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David Scharf


I am a board Certified periodontist which means that I am an expert in treating gum disease (periodontal disease) and placing dental implants. I can answer questions related to treating gum disease, bleeding gums, maintaining healthy gums, and structural issues with the gums such as recession, to gummy a smile, crown lengthening etc. I am also certified in Laser Periodontal therapy which allows me to treat gum disease with a laser rather than a scalpel. I can address those questions as well.


I have been practicing periodontics and placing dental implants since 1990. I have treated thousands of patients for both gum disease and dental implants. I currently an a Clinical Assistant Professor in the Department of Periodontics and Implant Dentistry at the nations largest dental school.

Journal of the American Dental Association, Journal of Periodontology, International Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, International Journal of Oral and Maxilofacial Implants

BA/DMD Boston University Cum Laud. Certificate of Advanced Graduate Study in Periodontics fro New York University. Board Certification in Periodontics 1995

Awards and Honors
e was elected to Omicron Kappa Upsilon (the "Phi Beta Kappa" for dentists), and received the Boston University award for Excellence in Periodontology, the Boston University Predoctoral Prosthetic Award for Excellence in Prosthetics, and the Academy of General Dentistry Outstanding Senior Student Award, the Boston University Operative Dentistry Special Achievement Award, and the Quintessence Publishing Company Outstanding Senior Award for Excellence in Clinical Practice. Following dental school, Dr. Scharf completed a year long General Practice Residency at The Long Island College Hospital in Brooklyn, New York. As a resident at this top New York program, he gained extensive clinical experience in such fields as prothodontics, periodontics, endodontics, orthodontics, oral surgery, management of the medically compromised patient, and general dentistry. This experience was completed by clinical rotations in the departments of general medicine, anesthesia, and emergency medicine.

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