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Supportive periodontal care: The effect of periodic subgingival debridement compared with supragingival prophylaxis with respect to clinical outcomes

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Peter Heasman, Professor Giles McCrackenORCiD, Dr Nick Steen


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Background: The programme of supportive periodontal care (SPC) is essential to the long-term stability of patients with chronic periodontitis. The clinical strategy for SPC is often determined according to 'clinical needs' of the patient and is thus determined by clinical observation and individual decision-making rather than being based on the best available clinical evidence. Objective: To evaluate the effectiveness of supragingival prophylaxis vs. subgingival debridement for SPC following the treatment of chronic periodontitis. Search strategy: Computerized for Medline and the Cochrane Oral Health Group Specialty Trials Register. Hand searching of the Journals of Clinical Periodontology, Periodontal Research and Periodontology. Reference lists from relevant articles were scanned and the authors of eligible studies were contacted to obtain additional information. Selection criteria: Studies were selected if they were designed as a prospective clinical trial in which patients with chronic periodontitis had followed a programme of SPC, which included at least one of the regimens of interest in part of the mouth, for a minimum of 12 months. Data collection and analysis: Information regarding methods, patients, interventions (SPC), outcome measures and results were extracted independently, in duplicate, by two reviewers (P.A.H., G.McC.). Absent data were recorded as such and incomplete data were sought from the researchers wherever possible. Results: In all, 28 papers were identified by the manual and electronic searches; 11 papers were eligible for inclusion. Only one study reported a direct comparison of the two SPCs of interest. The data were reported as mean changes in probing depth and attachment level between baseline and the 12-month follow-up point. For coronal scaling ΔPD = 0.59 mm [0.13], ΔAL = -0.13 mm [0.19]. For subgingival debridement ΔPD = 0.37 mm [0.15], ΔAL = -0.14 mm [0.18]. There were no significant differences between the SPC regimens. The weighted mean ΔPD [95% confidence intervals] for the five additional studies that reported supragingival prophylaxis as the SPC regimen was 1.15 mm [-0.17, 2.38]. The weighted mean ΔPD [95% confidence intervals] for the four studies that reported subgingival debridement as the SPC regimen was 0.56 mm [0.37, 1.47]. The difference between the SPC treatments for the mean ΔPD is therefore 0.23 mm. The confidence interval for the combined studies was very wide [0.37, 1.47] and very little additional information is gained unless some strong assumptions are made about the comparability of the populations from which the samples are drawn. Such an assumption was not considered appropriate. The weighted mean ΔAL [95% confidence intervals] for the six additional studies that reported supragingival prophylaxis as the SPC regimen was 0.18 mm [-0.38, 0.74]. The weighted mean ΔAL [95% confidence intervals] for the six additional studies that reported supragingival prophylaxis as the SPC regimen was 0.50 mm [0.11, 0.89]. The difference between the SPC treatments for mean ΔAL is 0.32 mm. The confidence interval [-0.36, 1.00] is very wide and the data from the additional studies provide little extra information than that reported in the one study that compared the treatments directly. Conclusion: It is not possible to make any firm recommendations regarding clinical practice based on the crude meta-analysis and the review of these 11 studies. The best available evidence indicates that SPC regimens of supragingival prophylaxis and subgingival debridement are comparable with respect to the clinical outcomes of probing depth and attachment levels at 12 months post non-surgical treatment. © Blackwell Munksgaard, 2002.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Heasman PA, McCracken GI, Steen N

Publication type: Review

Publication status: Published

Journal: Journal of Clinical Periodontology

Year: 2002

Volume: 29

Issue: 3

Pages: 163-172

Print publication date: 01/01/2002

ISSN (print): 0303-6979

ISSN (electronic): 1600-051X


DOI: 10.1034/j.1600-051X.29.s3.9.x

PubMed id: 12787216