Do you know what is considered a healthy perio percentage in a practice? The magic number is 30%. Some practices don’t track these metrics, but it is so important to make sure you aren’t providing supervised neglect.
If you aren’t familiar with the term “supervised neglect,” it is essentially when there is an active disease in a patient’s mouth and they leave without knowing that it is there. It can sometimes go undiscussed for YEARS in a practice. This includes Periodontitis’ precursor, Gingivitis. We know that gingivitis always precedes periodontitis and at that point it is reversible. We must intervene early in order to help patients prevent tooth and bone loss.
Many cases of periodontal disease go undiagnosed in a general practice setting. According to the ADA 47.2% of American adults 30 years and older have some form of gum disease. The incidence of this increases with age up to 70.1% at the age of 65. When you take this into consideration, it is easy to see how a practice can reach a perio percent of 30% (or sometimes higher). Now this doesn’t mean that you find new cases each time, this number also includes patients that are receiving perio maintenance. Even if your office doesn’t complete scaling and root planing, because you refer out, you can assist the Periodontist in keeping the patient on track by completing 2 of their 4 cleanings per year. This also provides them with their regular exam for any other potential restorative needs.
Periodontal disease, unlike other diseases, is on the rise. It is up to us as dental professionals to prevent and treat this disease in order to see this number start to go in the other direction. Without early intervention and knowing these metrics inside the walls of our own Ops, we can’t slow this process down. Building and maintaining a perio program is essential to preventative patient care.
Kristin Goodfellow RDH
Kristin is Chief Clinical Officer of OraCare, a practicing Registered Dental Hygienist