An Easy-to-Score Index Offers A Reliable Glimpse into Your Dental Future
Losing teeth due to untreated periodontal disease, the most severe form of gum disease, can cause serious consequences like sunken cheeks, chewing and speech problems as well as reduced confidence. But periodontists now have a reliable tool to help predict if a patient will keep their natural teeth.
The new Miller-McEntire Periodontal Prognostic Index is based on 35 years of data collected by renowned periodontist Preston D. Miller, Jr., DDS. This valuable tool scores seven independently confirmed factors essential to periodontal status and health. By looking at age, smoking status, diabetes A1C levels (average blood sugar), molar type, tooth pocket (probing) depth, tooth mobility, and furcation (bone loss), the index can be used by trained periodontists to predict the exact probability of overall tooth loss in 15 and 30 years.
According to the index, smokers of more than a pack a day score a hefty “4,” where non-smokers score “0.” Smoking is so closely related to periodontal disease that smokers increase their chances of losing their teeth by 246%! According to the index, overall scores less than 4.32 mean the patient should never lose a tooth.
A “Criteria for Success” patient checklist that accompanies the index reminds patients to follow regular dental maintenance, including cleaning the tongue. Research indicates that 80% of bacteria in the mouth resides in the back of the tongue.
The findings of the Miller-McEntire Periodontal Prognosis Index are revolutionizing the way periodontists render treatment. Decisions on whether to keep a natural tooth or not can be more accurately made with quantitative data as opposed to just qualitative prognoses. Gone are the guesswork days of “Doc, how long will I keep my teeth?”
Equally as important, the index allows patients to become better educated about their individual conditions. Patients can track their own progress and identify the areas they can directly manage in conjunction with their periodontist. It’s hoped the information provided will motivate patients to complete suggested periodontal treatment, to quit or cut back on smoking, to better monitor blood sugar levels and to practice better oral hygiene. A lower index can mean an improved prognosis and less chance for losing teeth.
It’s exciting to forecast plans for a patient’s dentition in the 15 to 30 year range, and with such great certainty. This allows the patient, periodontist and hygienist to have more complete understanding of their roles as team members in the care and maintenance of dentition.
Dr. Miller personally trained Drs. Robert A. Levine and Philip L. Fava of The Pennsylvania Center for Dental Implants and Periodontics. Their practice is located at Einstein Center One, Suite 211-212, 9880 Bustleton Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19115. The Center offers “All-on-Four™ dental implants, SameDay Smile®, esthetic (or “Smile Zone”) dental implants and crown and bridge implant restorations in addition to laser treatment of periodontal disease and reconstructive dental surgery. For more information, visit www.padentalimplants.com.