Periodontal maintenance therapy – how often do I need it?
PD Dr. Kristina Bertl, PhD MSc MBA
A very common question after the active phase of periodontal therapy is how high the patient’s risk is of re-developing periodontal problems, and how often they should have maintenance therapy (also called recall therapy) in order to prevent the disease progressing and to keep their periodontal status stable.
The number of recall appointments will of course not be the same for every patient, and this number should ideally be determined on a case-by-case basis. The University of Bern has provided an easy-to-use tool that allows dentists to determine the most suitable recall interval based on a number of parameters.
The tool takes the following parameters into account:
- Systemic factors (diabetes, stress, genetic risk factors)
- Smoking status
- Number of missing teeth
- Extent of marginal bone loss
- Number of positive bleeding sites upon probing
- Number of residual pocket probing depths (probing depth ≥ 5 mm)
These parameters are used to categorize the patient’s periodontal risk as low, moderate or high. Based on the result, the patient is recommended to attend recall appointments once, twice or four times per year. However, the patient’s capability and motivation to maintain home oral hygiene should also be taken into account. If a patient has reduced capability and/or lower motivation, they tend to be offered more frequent appointments.
- Lang N P, Tonetti M S (2003) Periodontal risk assessment (PRA) for patients in supportive periodontal therapy (SPT). Oral Health Prev Dent 1: 7-16.