I would like to respond to the person who responded negatively to the article "Back to Basics" (March 2000 issue). First of all, the article was well-written, and I found that I shared the author`s frustration with patients who swear that they have never been probed before. On some of those occasions, I have called the previous dental office to find out the perio status as noted in its records. This commonly reveals a totally different story. Usually, it comes to light that the patient was noncompliant and perio therapy of some kind had been recommended repeatedly in the past.
I shudder to think what I would hear if I contacted the office where the author of the recently published letter practices. Spot probing is negligent and proper six-site probing can be done in under 10 minutes, including charting the numbers. I have to wonder what college teaches spot probing in the likely areas as proper patient care and diagnosis.
When done properly, probing can be painful. I simply explain the process to the patient and asked if they prefer to be anesthetized. Liquid topical anesthetic in an endo syringe works great! That is the only shortcut I know.
I fully support the original author`s assertion that patients need to be fully probed at each appointment. Even a PSR requires full probing. I empathize with the oral health care provider and the patient. To say that technique, or worse, skipping the less likely sites, is the answer, I submit to be derelict of a hygienist`s duty.
Shirley Gutkowski, RDH, BSDH
Sun Prairie, Wisconsin
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