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Periodontists are dentists who specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of diseases affecting the gums and bone that support the teeth. They perform thorough clinical examinations, measuring the depth of gum pockets and checking for gingival bleeding, and may do tests to find out which types of bacteria are involved. Periodontal surgery may be needed in more severe cases of periodontitis. Some periodontists also insert dental implants to replace lost teeth or perform gum grafts in situations where the gums have receded. The American Academy of Periodontology has a membership of 8,400, most of whom are periodontists in practice.