Periodontal diseases comprise a group of related conditions, both acute and chronic, characterised by inflammation of the periodontal tissues in response to the presence of dental plaque.
Patient care is evolving from a mainly restorative approach to a more preventive and long term approach which is risk-based and meets the specific needs of individual patients. This model of care requires assessment of each individual patient’s risk of developing oral disease, including periodontal diseases.
Risk assessment involves the use of clinical judgement and knowledge of the patient to assess risk factors identified in the patient’s history that may affect the development of oral disease. This information is integrated with the level of disease identified during the clinical examination and used to assign a risk level. The risk level is used to determine the level of ongoing care required by the patient.
All dentate patients should be screened for periodontal disease at every routine examination. The exception is patients who are currently receiving supportive periodontal therapy; these patients will require annual full mouth periodontal charting.
Screening involves probing of the periodontal tissues to assess the presence of bleeding on probing, plaque and calculus deposits and the depth of any gingival or periodontal pockets which may be present.