Send to

Choose Destination
J Clin Periodontol. 2003 Sep;30(9):819-27.

Longitudinal validation of a risk calculator for periodontal disease.

Author information

Department of Periodontics and the Regional Clinical Dental Research Center, School of Dentistry, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98195, USA.



Risk assessment and utilization of the results are important components of prevention, diagnosis and treatment of periodontal diseases. Risk assessment is relatively new to dentistry. Currently risk is assessed by subjective evaluation and results vary widely among clinicians. We have developed a computer-based risk assessment tool, the Periodontal Risk Calculator (PRC), for objective, quantitative assessment of risk. The purpose of the study reported here was to evaluate the accuracy and validity of this tool.


Clinical records and radiographs of 523 subjects enrolled in the VA Dental Longitudinal Study of Oral Health and Disease, covering a period of 15 years, were used. Information from baseline examinations was entered into the risk calculator and a risk score on a scale of l-5 for periodontal deterioration was calculated for each subject. Actual periodontal status in terms of alveolar bone loss determined using digitized radiographs, and tooth loss determined from the clinical records, was assessed at years 3, 9 and 15. The strength of the association between risk prediction and actual outcome was determined statistically.


The risk scores were strong predictors of future periodontal status measured as worsening severity and extent of alveolar bone loss and tooth loss, especially loss of periodontally affected teeth. Over the entire 15-year period, risk scores consistently ranked groups from least to most bone loss and tooth loss. Risk groups differed greatly from one another. By year 3, the incidence rate of bone loss of group 5 was 3.7-fold greater than for group 2, and by year 15, the loss of periodontally affected teeth was 22.7-fold greater than for group 2 (p<0.001). By year 15, 83.7% of subjects in risk group 5 had lost one or more periodontally affected teeth compared to 20.2% of subjects in group 2.


Risk scores calculated using the PRC and information gathered during a standard periodontal examination predict future periodontal status with a high level of accuracy and validity. Use of the risk assessment tool over time may be expected to result in more uniform and accurate periodontal clinical decision-making, improved oral health, reduction in the need for complex therapy and reduction in health-care cost.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Wiley
Loading ...
Support Center