Change has occurred in dentistry and periodontics where improved methods to accurately assess risk for periodontal disease and quantify periodontal disease status would benefit all stakeholders of oral health care. This paper focuses on a new technology that provides these measurements. The Periodontal Assessment Tool (PAT) is an integral component of the Oral Health Information Suite™ (OHIS). Using only data gathered during a traditional periodontal examination, PAT accurately assesses the risk and quantifies severity and extent for periodontal disease, reporting them as a risk score and disease score, respectively. The risk score is expressed on a scale of 1 (lowest risk) to 5 (highest risk) and the disease score on a scale of 1 (healthy) to 100 (generalised severe periodontitis). The risk score has been shown to be valid and accurate where the study population was observed for 15 years. The extent of agreement between calculated disease scores and actual severity measured as mean alveolar bone height using digitised radiographs was strong (r = 0.735). Furthermore, there was strong agreement between the disease score and the diagnostic opinions of periodontists, general dentists and dental hygienists. Both risk and disease scores are objective, precise, and sensitive to minor changes, either improvement or deterioration. These novel scores provide a powerful new tool for monitoring periodontal status, quantifying therapeutic outcomes, and for communication with patients, third party payers and other health professionals.
Keywords: disease severity and extent, periodontal disease, risk assessment, therapeutic outcomes