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Prevention and Treatment of Periodontal Diseases in Primary Care

The Scottish Dental Clinical Effectiveness Programme (SDCEP) published guidance on Prevention and Treatment of Periodontal Diseases in Primary Care in June 2014. The guidance is designed to assist and support primary care dental teams in providing appropriate care for patients both at risk of and with periodontal diseases. The guidance aims to support the dental team to:

  • Manage patients with periodontal diseases in primary care appropriately;
  • Improve the quality of decision making for referrals to secondary care;
  • Improve the overall oral health of the population.

Various practitioner-led research studies were conducted before and after publication. This included:


Interviews with general dental practitioners (GDPs) and dental hygienists (DHs) explored current practice, practitioners’ attitudes towards managing periodontal diseases and their preferences on the content of the periodontal guidance. A report on the findings from the scoping interviews (PDF) is available. The findings from this scoping stage have also been published in a peer-reviewed journal (see “Publications” below).

Diagnostic analysis


During consultation a draft of the guidance was made available on the SDCEP website and circulated to various individuals and organisations, including practitioners working in primary care, for comments. Practitioners were asked about the usability of the guidance and their specific beliefs about implementing some of its key recommendations: give oral hygiene instruction; carry out a BPE; conduct a full periodontal examination and discuss smoking cessation. A report on the findings from the consultation interviews (PDF) is available.

Pre-publication questionnaire

A pre-publication questionnaire was sent to a random selection of 250 dentists and 250 dental hygienist/hygiene-therapists in Scotland, six weeks prior to the publication of the SDCEP guidance. This questionnaire was informed by semi-structured telephone interviews with dental practitioners. The results of these interviews are in the process of being written-up for publication in a peer-reviewed journal.

The pre-publication questionnaire asked respondents about their current practice, and their beliefs regarding four recommendations included within the guidance: giving Oral Hygiene Instruction (OHI); carrying out a Basic Periodontal Examination (BPE); conducting a full periodontal examination; and discussing smoking with patients.

The aim of this questionnaire was to collect baseline data on current practice and identify factors that influenced compliance with the four recommendations. A summary report of the findings from this pre-publication questionnaire (PDF) is available.

Post-publication questionnaire

A post-publication questionnaire was sent to the participants that had completed the pre-publication questionnaire. This was sent six months following publication of the SDCEP guidance, and asked the same questions as the pre-publication questionnaire about current practice and beliefs regarding the recommendations in the guidance. A summary report of the findings from the post-publication questionnaire (PDF) is available.


  1. Forbes, S. Rutherford, D. Stirling, L. Young and J. Clarkson. Current practice and factors influencing the provision of periodontal healthcare in primary dental care in Scotland: An explorative study. British Dental Journal218: 387-391 (2015)

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