Dental Tribune International

EFP publishes first international consensus guidelines for periodontitis treatment

BRUSSELS, Belgium: In 2018, the European Federation of Periodontology (EFP) released a new global classification system for periodontal health, diseases and conditions—the outcome of a joint workshop held by the EFP and the American Academy of Periodontology the previous year. Following up on this, the EFP has now released an evidence-based treatment guide for periodontitis, with the aim of improving periodontal treatment throughout Europe and beyond.

As the most common chronic inflammatory non-communicable disease across the worldwide population, periodontitis has been associated with a range of systemic conditions, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes and certain types of cancer. According to the EFP’s new treatment guidelines, it is also estimated that, annually, patients spend approximately US$54 billion across the globe on direct treatment of periodontitis.

The EFP’s new guidelines provide a step-by-step approach to the treatment of periodontitis ranging in severity from Stage I to Stage III. According to the organisation, a separate guideline covering the treatment of Stage IV periodontitis will be published at a later date.

To formulate these guidelines, a panel that included dental professionals representing each of the 36 national periodontal societies in the EFP was established. Other stakeholders from Europe-based scientific societies supported the panel throughout the process, along with relevant experts from the US.

In the guidelines, four sequential steps for periodontal therapy are proposed:

  1. guiding behavioural change in the patient to reduce periodontal inflammation, along with professional removal of supragingival biofilm and calculus;
  2. professional cleaning of subgingival biofilm and calculus, with additional therapies if needed;
  3. more complex treatments, such as repeated subgingival instrumentation and potential surgery; and
  4. long-term supportive periodontal care, supplemented by regular check-ups and good oral hygiene.

“Periodontitis is a devastating condition which leads not only to pain and soreness in the gums, but also to chewing problems, unpleasant changes to tooth length and position, poor self-esteem, withdrawal from social activities, and an increased risk of other inflammatory conditions including diabetes,” said Prof. Mariano Sanz, a co-author of the guidelines, in a press release from the EFP. “These guidelines outline how to manage this disease, since in the early stages its treatment is straightforward, and the consequences are minor.”

“Successful [periodontal] treatment transforms people’s lives: they become more confident, smile, and go out more,” added fellow co-author Prof. Iain Chapple. “After successful treatment, patients who take control of their oral health and lifestyle can halt periodontitis in its tracks and keep their teeth for life,” he said.

The paper, titled “Treatment of Stage I–III periodontitis—the EFP S3 level clinical practice guideline”, was published online on 27 July 2020 in the Journal of Clinical Periodontology.

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