Quick Alert: Routine Scale and Polish has Little or No Effect on Gingivitis
In an effort to inform the debate concerning the overall effectiveness of scaling and polishing and the best interval time to observe between treatments, authors at Cochrane Oral Health completed a literature review of randomized control trials. Our quick alert highlights key details and insights and provides an overview of this study and what it means for dentists.
STUDY: A systematic review to assess the effects of routine scale and polish S&P treatment.
PURPOSE: To assess the effects of routine scale and polish treatments for healthy adults; to establish whether different time intervals between treatments influence these effects; and to compare the effectiveness of the treatment when given by a dentist compared to a dental therapist or hygienist.
TEAM: Carried out by authors working with Cochrane Oral Health, the research was conducted by a team led by Thomas Lamont of the University of Dundee, UK on behalf of Cochrane Oral Health. Helen V. Worthington, Janet E. Clarkson, and Paul V. Beirne.
DEFINITION OF ROUTINE SCALE AND POLISH: The scaling and polishing of both the tooth and the root of the tooth to remove plaque deposits, and calculus.
INCLUSION CRITERIA: Scaling above and below the gum level.
EXCLUSION CRITERIA: Any surgical procedure on the gums, any chemical washing of the space between gum and tooth and root planing.
STUDIES INCLUDED: Two randomised controlled trials (RCTs) for a total of 1,711 participants.
Implications for Dentists
According to the authors, implications, “For adults without severe periodontitis accessing routine dental care, there is little or no difference in gingivitis, probing depths or quality of life over two to three years between routinely provided six-monthly scale and polish (S&P) treatments, 12-monthly S&P treatments and no scheduled S&P treatments (high-certainty evidence).
There may also be little or no difference in plaque levels over two years (low-certainty evidence). Although routine S&P treatments produce a small reduction in calculus levels over two to three years when compared to no scheduled S&P treatments, with six-monthly treatments reducing calculus more than 12-monthly treatments (high-certainty evidence), the importance of these reductions for patients and clinicians is unclear.”
To read the full article, Routine scale and polish for periodontal health in adults, visit the Cochrane Library.
Visit the Cochrane Oral Health Editorial Base Blog for an overview of this literature review.
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