Dental Tribune International

Periodontist Dr Chris Barker talks successful periodontitis treatment

Dr Chris Barker is an experienced periodontist who provides the full scope of specialist periodontics. On Thursday, 9 April, he will be presenting a webinar that focuses on the importance of case selection and preventive measures in treating periodontitis. Prior to the online lecture, Barker spoke to Dental Tribune International about the details of his upcoming webinar.

In the webinar, you will discuss the new classification scheme for periodontal disease. How has this new classification changed the way you diagnose or treat your patients?
The new classification system itself has not changed the way I diagnose patients. I still go through a full examination. However, it has helped in terms of setting up systems and templates for my staff. For instance, in the first and second stages of periodontitis, localised and Grade A patients generally only need conservative debridement with local anaesthetics and Guided Biofilm Therapy (GBT) protocols. This is contrasted with Stage III and IV, generalised or Grade B or C patients, who often require adjunctive use of other therapies, such as lasers, antimicrobial agents or surgery.

It has also helped when reviewing a patient’s progress and then determining the appropriate recall intervals.

How important is it for dentists to develop preventive measures for periodontitis, especially in an ageing population?
Like any disease, prevention is always better. The critical issue is that, when the attachment is lost, it is very difficult or even impossible to regain that attachment. The more attachment, the more stable and resilient the teeth are for effective and pain-free function.

Also, in most cases, the sooner the periodontal disease is identified, the easier it is to treat it. As a person ages, barriers to therapy, such as access to care and the ability to tolerate procedures, present themselves—not to mention the impact on the quality of life.

Multiple studies have indicated that the longer a person can retain his or her natural dentition in a healthy state, the higher his or her reported quality of life is.

What constitutes success in periodontal treatment, and how can dentists ensure effective treatment?
Success is a very subjective measure, as the patient has to be happy. This concerns not only the outcome, but also the initial and ongoing supportive treatment or therapy. The absolute basics for success are infection- and pain-free treatments. Outcomes such as the retention of teeth, further loss prevention, and a functional and, ideally, healthy-looking dentition are also quite important to patients.

Also, I think that it is important for the patient to feel comfortable returning to his or her primary clinician for regular check-ups and tooth cleaning. Regular professional examinations and tooth cleaning are potentially critical determinants of future outcomes.

What other topics will you address in the webinar?
This webinar will briefly cover the classification system for periodontitis, the importance of using checklists, where I employ the elements of GBT, and the impact on the patient initially and during the long-term supportive management. Some of the indications and contra-indications for the aspects of GBT and how some minor modifications can be made at the clinician’s discretion will also be covered.

Editorial note: The 1-hour webinar, titled "Successful periodontal treatment—managing your periodontal patients within the ‘new’ classifications”, will be presented live on Thursday, 9 April, at 12 p.m. CEST. Participants will have the opportunity to ask questions about the topic, as well as earn a continuing education credit by answering a questionnaire after the lecture. Registration on the Swiss Dental Academy Online

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