The classical way to choose a Periodontist is to get a referral by your general dentist. If you have a trusting relationship with your dentist then your dentist is the best referral source. One caveat to this is if the Periodontist works in the same office as the general dentist. There is an inherent conflict of interest since the dentist usually benefits financially from this arrangement too. That being said it may be perfectly legitimate. It is never a problem to get a second opinion by another periodontist if you are uncertain about your treatment options. If you don’t have a general dentist then the American Academy of Periodontlogy’s website, www.perio.org, can give you a listing of Periodontists in your vicinity and their credentials. Other referral sources with their pros and cons are listed here:
Using a search engine like Google: Can be very helpful, but there are many general dentists who advertise periodontal procedures in their own websites who may show up in the search results. Some do this intentionally and unscrupulously exactly for that purpose. I recommend that you qualify any search results and physically find out if they are a periodontist by cross referencing the academy, above, or by specifically asking if the dentist is a periodontist. All periodontists are dentists but most dentists are not in fact periodontists.
Referral from an insurance company: You may have a specific insurance that requires you to see a Periodontist who is in network with the insurance company otherwise called a panel provider. Typically in these cases the panel provider contracts with insurance company to provide services for a reduced fee. The expectation by the panel provider is that the insurance company will provide more volume of patients to make up for the reduced fees. You are a captive audience in this scenario. Because there are reduced fees over-treatment can be an undesirable by product of this arrangement. A second opinion by another periodontist can be helpful if you are uncertain about the recommended treatment options.
Word of mouth: If you are hearing a lot of the same positive or negative comments from a lot of different people then that is credible. However, a good or bad comment from a single source is not. If you only saw Tiger Woods hit one an only one tee shot that happened to go out of bounds you would be incorrect to assume he is a poor golfer.