Dental practices are becoming wiser to the fact that in order to achieve successful patient compliance with periodontal therapy, they need to involve their patients in the fight to actively treat their periodontal condition. The approach to better involve the patient is different for every office. Some choose to show pictures, while others will have detailed conversations of treatment options and potential outcomes. I have even witnessed videos being played while the doctor is in route to see the patient for the exam. Some of the most savvy dental teams I work with are always looking for new tools for documentation and presentation of the patients’ dental condition.

I have witnessed a rise in the focus on treating the patient’s periodontal condition over the past 5 years. In fact, according to the American Academy of Periodontology, half of Americans aged 30 or older have periodontitis. Additionally, the relationship of periodontal disease and other systemic health conditions is a very serious adventure and I love seeing dental practices today really taking the initiative to provide the highest quality education for their patients.

Educational tools used to promote periodontal awareness should be easy and readily accessible. In a dental office where paper is utilized, there will most certainly be a dedicated section of the patient’s record to store periodontal exams. The most common paper periodontal exams would accommodate 3 exams and depending on the patient’s periodontal status, an array of measurements, colors and symbols are used to document the periodontal condition at the time of the exam.

A chartless environment looks very different and must have an equivalent array of tools available for the team to continue their successful educational talks with their patients.

The Easy Dental Perio Comparison

In a dental world where surgical and non-surgical periodontal treatments are routinely offered in the general practice, the documentation of before and after conditions is critical. The routine placement of periodontal probing depths, recession, mobility and furcation grades into the Easy Dental Perio Chart provides the dental team with a solid foundation for quickly accessing periodontal data in the most efficient way. Additionally, the Perio Chart module provides a tool for comparing data for up to four saved exams at one time.

For example, a dental hygienist has just documented the patient’s periodontal condition at the first visit following scaling and root planing. The hygienist found that the response to treatment was great with an overall reduction in probing depths. The hygienist can then populate an exam comparison for the patient to have a visual on the before and after periodontal condition.

To produce a periodontal exam comparison:

  1. Document an save two or more periodontal exams in the Perio Chart.
  2. From the Options menu, select Exam Comparison.
  3. First select the perio data you want to compare. The options are as follows:
    • Probing Depths – you will see in the example provided below, a comparison is being made between two exams – 12/09/2017 and 09/09/2018. The probing depths for each exam are presented on the comparison with change indicators on the line separating the exams. I am including the legend which explains each marker.
    • Gingival Margin – this comparison provides you with a quick and easy solution for monitoring your patient’s gingival recession over time. This could provide the patient with a solid explanation of the need for additional treatment to prevent further gingival recession.
    • Clinical Attachment Level – Easy Dental produces the clinical attachment level automatically by adding together the probing depth plus the gingival margin to provide you with a better representation of the bone loss severity present. This comparison looks identical to the Probing Depths comparison, but is very different in purpose as the calculation of each measurement adds probing depth plus gingival margin.
    • Mobility – this is a comparison tool with a very visual flare. In the example below, I have compared an exam on 12/09/2017 with 09/09/2018. The variety in change of mobility is apparent with a quick visual.
    • Furcation Involvement – this is another tool which provides a quick visual specific to documented furcation grades.
  4. In the Exam Comparison selection window, simply select the comparison you wish to make along with the exams you want to compare (up to four can be selected per comparison).

The Exam Comparison tool in Easy Dental provides one more tool in your arsenal for battling periodontal disease. The visuals will engage your patient with a finer understanding of their periodontal condition. What tools does your practice actively utilize to provide your patients with greater periodontal knowledge? Please share any ideas or questions with us.

David Broom is Senior Director of Product and Business Development. David has a master’s degree in Information Technology (IT) from the University of Texas in Dallas and has more than 35 years of experience from many global companies such as Hitachi Vantara, Methode Electronics, and Keane, Inc. In his current role, he is responsible for all aspects of the product management and field service teams at Henry Schein TechCentral, which identifies the ideal advanced technologies to meet the unique needs of the dental market and ensure that dental offices are using the right IT to be more efficient and effective.