Pearls of Wisdom 4

Since the mid 1990’s it has been an NHS requirement that a basic periodontal examination is carried out at each examination visit. What do you do with this information?

For example, my cousin’s wife who has type II diabetes and an HbA1C score of over 8.5 is at risk of developing irregular or atypical periodontal disease. She hears the numbers called out, but is neither told what they are or what they mean and has no means of knowing if she is getting worse, is stable, or getting better. This is no way to practice prevention in my opinion.

I found that sharing the BPE score with patients was a useful teaching and motivational aid. ‘You need to concentrate more her and spend a little extra time.’ You have to explain what the numbers means otherwise patients might think that a score of two is twice as bad as a score of one. The numbers refer to different clinical entities. Perhaps the inventors of the method, Ainamo and Ainamo, should have used letters instead?

There is one other important aspect that your Pearl System does provide. Never look at just the last numbers, but compare with the previous ones to give you the trends in what is happening to your patient. Again print off and share the information with your patient. It is not secret as the Access to Medical Records Acts confirm.


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