Case Presentations Demonstrating Periodontal Treatment Variation: PEARL Network

Frederick A Curro, Ashley C Grill, Abigail G Matthews, John Martin, Elisabeth Kalenderian, Ronald G Craig, Frederick Naftolin, Van P Thompson
Compendium of Continuing Education in Dentistry 2015, 36 (6): 432-40

BACKGROUND: Variation in periodontal terminology can affect the diagnosis and treatment plan as assessed by practicing general dentists in the Practitioners Engaged in Applied Research and Learning (PEARL) Network. General dentists participating in the PEARL Network are highly screened, credentialed, and qualified and may not be representative of the general population of dentists.

METHODS: Ten randomized case presentations ranging from periodontal health to gingivitis, to mild, moderate, and severe periodontitis were randomly presented to respondents. Descriptive comparisons were made between these diagnosis groups in terms of the treatment recommendations following diagnosis.

RESULTS: PEARL practitioners assessing periodontal clinical scenarios were found to either over- or under-diagnose the case presentations, which affected treatment planning, while the remaining responses concurred with respect to the diagnosis. The predominant diagnosis was compared with that assigned by two practicing periodontists. There was variation in treatment based on the diagnosis for gingivitis and the lesser forms of periodontitis.

CONCLUSION: Data suggests that a lack of clarity of periodontal terminology affects both diagnosis and treatment planning, and terminology may be improved by having diagnosis codes, which could be used to assess treatment outcomes.

CLINICAL IMPLICATIONS: This article provides data to support best practice for the use of diagnosis coding and integration of dentistry with medicine using ICD-10 terminology.

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