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J Clin Periodontol. 1994 Oct;21(9):571-6.

Utility of radiographic crestal lamina dura for predicting periodontitis disease-activity.

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Department of Peridontics, University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine, Philadelphia.


The relationship between radiographic crestal lamina dura and periodontitis disease-activity was studied longitudinally in 51 treated adult patients on a systematic 3-month maintenance program. The presence or absence of crestal lamina dura at 1809 interproximal sites was scored from periapical and bitewing radiographs taken at baseline of a 36-month maintenance care period. Semi-annual clinical evaluations by 2 independent examiners were carried out on each patient, with disease recurrence defined as sites revealing a > or = 3 mm increase in probing depth from baseline, or a > or = 2 mm increase in probing depth together with a > or = 2 mm loss of relative attachment level from an occlusal reference stent. Over the 36-month study period, 23 (45%) patients exhibited disease recurrence at 55 (3%) interproximal tooth sites scored for baseline crestal lamina dura. Absence of detectable baseline crestal lamina dura yielded high sensitivity (87-100%), but low specificity (17%) and low positive predictive values (0.8-3.2%), for localized periodontitis recurrence. In contrast, no sites exhibiting an intact baseline crestal lamina dura demonstrated periodontitis recurrence up to 24 months from baseline (100% positive predictive values). Presence of radiographic crestal lamina dura was positively associated with clinical periodontal stability (summary odds ratio for sites = 2.6, P = 0.0004), and negatively associated with periodontitis recurrence (summary odds ratio for sites = 0.4, P = 0.0004), for the 36-month study period. Evaluation of radiographic crestal lamina dura status appears valuable for assessing the risk of periodontitis disease-activity at inter-proximal tooth sites in patients on maintenance care programs.

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