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Dental professionals get help with spotting periodontal disease from DDU and BSP

4 September 2017

Dental professionals are being given help with the diagnosis and treatment of periodontal disease in the form of a new e-learning module from the Dental Defence Union (DDU) and the British Society of Periodontology (BSP).

Allegations of failure to diagnose or treat periodontal disease account for about 10% of claims notified to the DDU each year and some claims can reach £220,000 in compensation and legal costs.

The course, which has been co-written by the BSP and the DDU, combines the expertise of both organisations on the clinical assessment, diagnosis and treatment of periodontitis, as well as the dento-legal aspects surrounding the condition.

Leo Briggs, deputy head of the DDU, said:

'The typical symptoms of periodontal disease can be easy to miss until it's too late to treat them effectively. This means that dental professionals have a critical role in monitoring patients' periodontal health.

'Unfortunately, this is one aspect of dental practice that is not always given the attention it deserves. This is surprising when you consider that around 45% of the adult dentate population in England, Wales and Northern Ireland have periodontal pocketing exceeding 4mm and just under 10% have advanced periodontal disease which can eventually lead to tooth loss. Our new online course addresses gaps in both clinical and dento-legal knowledge and we hope it will improve diagnosis and treatment.'

BSP DDU perio resource

Dr Philip Ower, immediate past president of the BSP, said:

'The problem of litigation around periodontal management has been growing steadily over the last few years and so often it is the simple things, particularly in terms of diagnosis, that have let people down. The idea of a free, accessible, online resource to help educate clinicians about this issue could not have come at a more opportune time.

'I know that clinicians will enjoy going through the six modules and everyone will learn something, even more experienced clinicians. I hope that by doing this course dentists, hygienists and therapists will be encouraged to improve their systems for periodontal management in their practices which ultimately will help their patients, which is what this all about.'

Divided into six modules, the new online course is worth three hours of verifiable continuous professional development (CPD), and is free for any dental professional to complete. The CPD gained will also help professionals meet the new GDC CPD requirements, due to come into force in 2018. The six modules are:

  • Communication
  • Initial assessment part 1
  • Initial assessment part 2
  • Classification of periodontal disease
  • Treatment part 1
  • Treatment part 2

The course covers areas such as taking a detailed history, getting consent, using the basic periodontal examination effectively, assessing periodontal conditions, formulating treatment plans, and techniques for producing patient behaviour change. At the end of the course, participants will take part in an assessment to test their knowledge.

This guidance was correct at publication on 04/09/2017. It is intended as general guidance for members only. If you are a member and need specific advice relating to your own circumstances, please contact one of our advisers.

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