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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Initial periodontal screening and radiographic findings - A comparison of two methods to evaluate the periodontal situation

Dirk Ziebolz1*, Ivette Szabadi1, Sven Rinke2, Else Hornecker1 and Rainer F Mausberg1

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Preventive Dentistry, Periodontology and Cariology, University Medical Centre Goettingen, Germany

2 Private Dental Practice, Hanau, Germany

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BMC Oral Health 2011, 11:3  doi:10.1186/1472-6831-11-3

Published: 14 January 2011



The periodontal screening index (PSI) is an element of the initial dental examination. The PSI provides information on the periodontal situation and allows a first estimation of the treatment required. The dental panoramic tomography (DPT) indicates the proximal bone loss, thus also allowing conclusions on the periodontal situation. In this study, the results of both methods in determining the periodontal situation are compared.


The clinical examination covered DMF-T, QHI, and PSI scores at four proximal sites per tooth; the examining dentist was unaware of the radiographic finding. Based on the PSI scores, the findings were diagnosed as follows: score 0 - 2 "no periodontitis", score 3 and 4 "periodontitis". Independent of the locality and time of the clinical evaluation, two dentists examined the DPTs of the subjects. The results were classified as follows: no bone loss = "no periodontitis", and bone loss = "periodontitis".


112 male subjects (age 18 to 58, Ø 37.7 ± 8 years) were examined. Regarding the PSI, 17 subjects were diagnosed "no periodontitis" and 95 subjects "periodontitis". According to the evaluation of the DPTs, 70 subjects were diagnosed "no periodontitis" and 42 "periodontitis". A comparison of both methods revealed that the diagnosis "no periodontitis" corresponded in 17 cases and "periodontitis" in 42 cases (53%). In 47% (53 cases) the results were not congruent. The difference between both methods was statistically significant (p < 0.001; kappa = 0.194).


The present study shows that the initial assessment of the periodontal situation significantly depends on the method of evaluation.