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Int Dent J. 1997 Apr;47(2):61-87.

Risk assessment for periodontal diseases.

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Department of Periodontics and Pathology, Health Sciences Center, University of Washington, Seattle 981951, USA.


Assessment of risk for periodontitis is still in its infancy. Nevertheless, a sufficient amount of dependable information exists to begin using risk assessment in the day to day practice of dentistry. The purpose of this paper is to summarise existing information about risks for periodontitis in a manner that is useful to practitioners. Risks for moderate to severe periodontitis that have been identified include cigarette smoking, advancing age, diabetes mellitus and certain other systemic conditions. These include, osteoporosis and HIV infection and conditions such as irradiation and immunosuppressive drugs that interfere with normal host defences, specific pathogenic bacteria in the subgingival flora, microbial deposits and poor oral hygiene status, bleeding on probing, previous disease experience and severity, and inheritance. Some risks such as pathogenic bacteria in the subgingival flora are strongly linked to causation of the disease while others such as bleeding on probing may indicate enhanced risk for future disease but are not known to be involved in causation and still others such as advancing age may be background factors that enhance susceptibility. While some risks such as cigarette smoking can be modified to lower the level of risk, others such as ageing are immutable and cannot be modified but need to be considered in overall risk assessment. A goal of periodontal diagnosis, treatment planning and therapy is to lower risk for future periodontal deterioration to the maximal extent. One approach to achieving this goal is described.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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