How often do I need to chart periodontally healthy teeth?

May 27, 2005
Question wonders about the need to chart frequently, but the answer reminds us of the pitfalls of becoming complacent.

What is the standard of care for perio charting? More specifically, how often is a perio charting needed for healthy teeth/gums compared to periodontally involved teeth?

Response from Lynne Hollister Slim: "Standard of care" is a legal term and a sometimes worrisome one at that. In terms of malpractice, a provider must exercise the skill expected of a reasonably prudent oral health care provider. The dental record should be consistent for all patients and the office should have a periodontal charting policy in place for adult clients. I would make sure that all hygienists (or dentists) in the practice perform circumferential probing every 12 months. It is true that clients with a healthy periodontium do not need circumferential probing every 12 months but what I have found (and I am pointing a finger at myself as a clinician, too!) is that it is very easy to become complacent and to skip probing circumferentially given our time constraints.

You could also perform a PSR on a 12 month basis but I personally don't like the PSR because it is too easy to cut corners and just fill in boxes with numbers instead of walking the probe around the sulcus in each of six segments. My advice would be to play it safe and establish good work habits at the same time. Feel free to ask the periotherapist yahoo group this question, too at: We'd love to chat with you on a regular basis!

Thinking outside the traditional prophy box.

Lynne Hollister Slim, RDH, MS, is president of Perio C Dent, Inc. (Perio-Centered Dentistry) in Douglasville, GA. She can be contacted at [email protected]. She is the moderator of the periotherapist yahoo group at and a columnist for RDH magazine.