Periodontal summary

At present Periodontal disease is the main reason for litigation within dentistry. Therefore knowing and understanding how to identify periodontal disease, how to diagnose and explain it to patients is of utmost importance.

So here is a quick summary of information relating to periodontal disease.

BPE: What is it and when do we use it?

  • Basic screening tool - it cannot determine a diagnosis.

  • BPE should be conducted for every new patient and all routine examinations.

  • Use a CPITN/ WHO probe or even BPE probe (interchangeable names)

  • Ball ended probe with 0.5 mm diameter

  • 20-25N of pressure applied.

  • Always record the worse score in each sextant.

BPE & children:

  • BPE must be completed on children from age 6 and above.

  • Use following index teeth to assess BPE Score (UR6, UR1, UL6, LL6, LL1 and LR6)

  • If the child is between the ages of 6-11 BPE codes 0 - 2 are used.

  • If the child is between the ages of 12- 17 use the full range of codes 0, 1, 2, 3, 4 and *

Explanation of perio diagnosis to a patient:

When explaining the periodontal diagnosis to a patient it must be done in a way the patient understands both verbally and written.

Example: Mr X you have ‘gum disease’ as opposed to “Mr X you have advanced periodontal disease”

The first statement will make more sense to the patient than using dental jargon. You need to be sure that the patient leaves the surgery knowing what has been discussed and that they understand their diagnosis.

Risk Factors:

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Diabetes and Perio:

  • Periodontal disease and Diabetes is a Bi- directional relationship.

  • This means dependant on how well a patients oral health is controlled will ultimately be a reflection of how well controlled their diabetes is.

  • This is due to HbA1c levels.

  • HbA1c is what’s known as glycated haemoglobin. This is something that’s made when the glucose (sugar) in your body sticks to your red blood cells. Your body can’t use the sugar properly, so more of it sticks to your blood cells and builds up in your blood. Red blood cells are active for around 2-3 months, which is why the reading is taken quarterly. (Taken from

Look out for part 2 of this blog post - outlining how to give a periodontal diagnosis. Coming soon!

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