Dentists treating patients with chronic periodontitis, a severe form of gum disease that can lead to tooth loss, are advised to use scaling and root planing (SRP), which is a deep cleaning of the teeth, as initial treatment, according to new guidelines from the American Dental Association (ADA). The guidelines were published recently in the Journal of the American Dental Association (JADA).
“This is the first time the various treatments of periodontitis have been compared side by side,” said ADA President and periodontist Maxine Feinberg DDS. “Dentists are often challenged with managing gum disease of varying severity; these guidelines will assist practitioners in their decision-making and ultimately help patients receive the right treatment at the right time.”
According to the authors, chronic periodontitis is a prevalent condition, and a major cause of tooth loss in adults. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Academy of Periodontology, the prevalence of moderate periodontitis among adults is estimated at 30% and that of severe periodontitis is 8.5%.
In 2011, the ADA resolved to develop a clinical practice guideline on non-surgical treatments, including SRP. SRP is the process by which dentists remove tartar and plaque that attach to the tooth surfaces. Based on a review of the evidence, the ADA concluded that clinicians should consider SRP as the initial treatment for patients with chronic periodontitis.