Background: Scientific studies in dentistry are mainly conducted at universities. However, most patients are treated in dental practices, which differ in many ways from treatment at the university. Through the establishment of practice-based research networks, however, it is also possible to examine studies in a real-world setting in dental practices. For this reason the aim of this non-interventional, observational study was to develop and evaluate a digital procedure to access, extract and analyse recorded clinical data in practices to assess periodontal treatment outcomes.
Methods: Participating periodontists were former or active postgraduate students of a master’s course in periodontics in Freiburg who routinely used a digital periodontal diagnostic program. All available stored periodontal patient charts were extracted, anonymized and digitally sent to the study centre.
Results: In this study, data were collected from 6301 patients from 9 different practices. Information such as probing depth (PD), bleeding on probing (BOP), mobility, furcation and gingival attachment for 153163 teeth at first visit were successfully transferred to the study centre. During the average observational period of 9.77 years, only 2.8% of all teeth were lost. The number of visits was significantly negatively correlated with BOP (p<0.0001), and the number of BOP-positive sites was significantly correlated with deeper PDs (p<0.001).
Conclusion: The presented procedure was able to gather a large amount of practice-based periodontal data, and thus this study may support practice-based research networks. The data indicate that systematic and supportive periodontal therapy is successful on a practice-based level.
Trial registration: The study was internationally registered on 4 January 2017 in the German Clinical Trials Register (DRKS 00011448). https://www.drks.de/drks_web/navigate.do?navigationId=trial.HTML&TRIAL_ID=DRKS00011448