As you may have heard, the proceedings from the 2017 World Workshop on the Classification of Periodontal and Peri-Implant Diseases and Conditions have recently been released. As a result of the workshop, there is a new classification system in use for periodontology. This new classification system allows scientists to investigate etiology, parthenogenesis, natural history, and treatment of diseases and conditions with the same vocabulary, reducing inconsistent interpretations of the data.
Essentially, this classification now accounts for advances in the last twenty years of our knowledge of periodontal health. Patients will now be classified between stages I and IV, which factor in their overall health, risk factors, and disease progression when it comes to periodontics.
You can read more from the American Academy of Periodontology here.
So what does this mean?
As a Periodontist: This new classification system is more concise and will account more accurately for the patient’s overall health in regards to the periodontia. This system is much clearer than the previous classifications from 1999. The new staging in this classification system also helps to provide a more clear treatment plan for patients.
As a Patient: It is important to be aware of this new classification system. It is crucial that you as a patient understand that periodontal disease has different levels of severity and can manifest differently. The root cause of the disease can be complex, requiring the expertise of a periodontist.
If you suspect periodontal disease, the easiest way to detect if your gums are inflamed is to see if your gums bleed when flossing. If your gums bleed when you floss or brush your teeth, we recommend making an appointment with your dentist or periodontist. Depending on the severity of disease, treatment recommendations can vary widely, from modifying daily hygiene habits to advanced laser therapy.
To be sure that your diagnosis is in line with this new classification, make sure you ask your dentist or periodontist, “What is my diagnosis and treatment recommendations based on the 2017 Classification system?” Being educated on this new system allows you to ensure you are receiving the most up-to-date and accurate treatment for your specific case.
Overall, this new classification system will benefit both doctors and patients, and will allow for more clear and concise diagnoses and treatment plans for periodontal patients.