Initial treatment planning
In order to plan any kind of therapy for a patient, we need information about the patient and his or her condition. Previous chapters discussed the assessment and diagnosis of patients with periodontal disease. For patients other than those with gingivitis or mild periodontitis, when treatment is simple and prevention oriented, by the time we are ready to plan initial treatment for our patient, we should have a wealth of information to facilitate this process. The aim of this chapter is to describe the planning of treatment for a patient with periodontal disease.
Initial periodontal treatment has sometimes also been referred to as “cause-related therapy,” emphasizing the fact that the primary aim of this treatment is to eliminate or control the aetiological factors associated with the disease, to allow stabilization of the disease, and to promote healing of the tissues. Thus, at this stage, much of initial treatment planning is a relatively simple task in that initial treatment relates to the removal of the primary causative agent of periodontitis—plaque—and the correction of those factors that serve to retain plaque (calculus, overhanging restorations, etc.). Add to this smoking cessation for patients who smoke, and then the previously discussed plan would be an initial treatment plan that would serve for many periodontal patients. However, although it is common to make some of the important long-term decisions about management at reassessment following completion of initial treatment (see < ?xml:namespace prefix = "mbp" />
Assessing the prognosis for specific teeth, and for individual patients overall, is inevitably an inexact exercise because it involves the assessment of a wide range of different factors that will affect the risk of tooth loss in the future. However, a judgement of likely prognosis may influence treatment planning decisions (1) by trying to control any adverse prognostic factors that are identified, (2) by affecting decisions to carry out extensive (and expensive) complex treatments, and (3) by informing decisions about extractions that may be required. As also discussed elsewhere, a wide range of different factors at both the patient level and the tooth level will affect prognosis. A judgement of prognosis is thus made by the clinician by weighing all of these factors. Studies suggest that, in general, clinicians tend to underestimate the adverse effects of patient-level factors such as smoking on prognosis while overestimating the effects of tooth-level factors.
A list of many of the factors that may influence prognosis is given in
|Better prognosis||Worse prognosis|
|Medically fit||Medically compromised|
|Low susceptibility||High disease susceptibility|
|Good response to initial therapy||Poor response to initial therapy|
|Good OH||Poor compliance/OH|
|Shallower pockets||Deeper pockets|
|Horizontal-type bone loss||Vertical bone loss|
|Simple root anatomy; anterior teeth||Furcations and other anatomical factors (root grooves, etc.); posterior teeth|