Routine scale and polish for periodontal health in adults.

Helen V. Worthington, Jan E. Clarkson, Gemma Bryan, Paul V. Beirne

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Many dentists or hygienists provide scaling and polishing for patients at regular intervals, even if those patients are considered to be at low risk of developing periodontal disease. There is debate over the clinical effectiveness and cost effectiveness of 'routine scaling and polishing' and the 'optimal' frequency at which it should be provided for healthy adults.A 'routine scale and polish' treatment is defined as -2% (95% CI -10% to 6%; P value = 0.65), with 40% of the sites in the control group with bleeding. The MD for 12-monthly scale and polish was -1% (95% CI -9% to 7%; P value = 0.82). The body of evidence was assessed as of low quality.- Objective 2: Scale and polish at different time intervals Two studies, both at unclear risk of bias, compared routine scale and polish provided at different time intervals. When comparing six with 12 months there was insufficient evidence to determine a difference for gingivitis at 24 months SMD -0.08 (95% CI -0.27 to 0.10). There were some statistically significant differences in favour of scaling and polishing provided at more frequent intervals, in particular between three and 12 months for the outcome of gingivitis at 24 months, with OHI, MD -0.14 (95% CI -0.23 to -0.05; P value = 0.003) and without OHI MD -0.21 (95% CI -0.30 to -0.12; P value <0.001) (mean per patient measured on 0-3 scale), based on one study. There was some evidence of a reduction in calculus. This body of evidence was assessed as of low quality.- Objective 3: Scale and polish with and without OHIOne study provided data for the comparison of scale and polish treatment with and without OHI. There was a reduction in gingivitis for the 12-month scale and polish treatment when assessed at 24 months MD -0.14 (95% CI -0.22 to -0.06) in favour of including OHI. There were also significant reductions in plaque for both three and 12-month scale and polish treatments when OHI was included. The body of evidence was once again assessed as of low quality.- Objective 4: Scale and polish provided by a dentist compared with a dental care professionalNo studies were found which compared the effects of routine scaling and polishing provided by a dentist or dental care professional (dental therapist or dental hygienist) on periodontal health. There is insufficient evidence to determine the effects of routine scale and polish treatments. High quality trials conducted in general dental practice settings with sufficiently long follow-up periods (five years or more) are required to address the objectives of this review.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)CD004625
    JournalCochrane database of systematic reviews (Online : Update Software)
    Publication statusPublished - 2013


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