Thoughts from Anastasia Turchetta: The other side of the fierce debate on perio charting

November 19, 2014

"The scientific theory I like best is that the rings of Saturn are composed entirely of lost airline luggage" - Mark Russell

"The scientific theory I like best is that the rings of Saturn are composed entirely of lost airline luggage" - Mark Russell

Last week’s article on 3 reasons why a Modern Millennial Hygienist does NOT perio chart hit social media faster than One Direction selling out a concert! With 160 shares and just over 40 comments on our Facebook page alone, we applaud each of you for your insights, relevant points to consider, and sense of humor.

I, along with the editorial team at Modern Hygienist, believe strongly in bringing you all sides of the story and letting you decide what is best for you, your career, and your patients. With that in mind, I’d like to add my opinions and beliefs on the fiercely debated article.

Like most of you, I agree that a complete periodontal charting performed once a year is the standard of care for our patients. It is the bridge for patients to understand their current state of oral health. This measurement becomes a tangible result and evokes emotion as the journey from unknown to known is revealed. Now our patients realistically grasp the essence of ownership because the numbers don’t lie.

The science of PCR peaked my interest. Here’s a link to some interesting information if you really want to dig into it. 

That information led me to Dr. Thomas Nabors who was interviewed in another publication on how MyPerioPath via OralDNA Labs works. When asked what type of patient to considered for testing, Dr. Nabors mentioned patients with pockets of 4 mm or greater with clinical signs of a periodontal infection.

WEBINAR: Watch Anastasia tackle "The Insane Pain" of hypersensitivity

One of the comments on our Facebook page with a relevant point to consider shared how our insurance codes include periodontal charting. Well noted! Here are links to the descriptions for D0150 and D0180, as well as a link to our annual fee survey that shows exactly how much dental practices have been charging for D0150 over the last four years.

Another point well noted in the Facebook comments was whether or not our ultrasonics or hand instruments cross-contaminate the pathogenic biofilms as our periodontal probes are said to. Add to that my own curiosity … what about flossing the patient?

As many of you know, I’m not one to back away from a controversial topic (after all, we’ve talked about HPV, e-cigarette usage, and marijuana usage this year already), yet I do believe if it is going to be placed out there, then you should back up your topic with supportive references, resources, proof of a successful protocol, or what it would take to integrate one.

In closing, let me throw out there the other side of the coin. Here are 3 reasons this Modern Hygienist WILL chart.

1. It emotionally attaches my patient to their disease and establishes accountability.
2. Periodontal probing and radiographs contribute to the ongoing evidence of whether disease is present or absent.
3. It takes a team to integrate the science and protocol with consistency.