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Changes to the classification of periodontal diseases

Post date: 08/05/2019 | Time to read article: 2 mins

The information within this article was correct at the time of publishing. Last updated 09/05/2019

Dr Andrew Walker, dentolegal consultant and periodontal specialist, introduces the international classification of periodontal diseases.

A new international classification of periodontal diseases was launched in 2017 following a collaboration of the European Federation of Periodontology and the American Association of Periodontology. The new classification reflects how scientific understanding has evolved since 1999.1


In the UK, implementation of the classification is being guided by the British Society of Periodontology (BSP), who set up a working group of specialists and general practitioners to address this important issue.2
Any registrant with the GDC  is expected to keep up-to-date with significant changes in guidelines and treatment protocols. We would therefore advise you to familiarise yourself with this change. Further information is published on the BSP website at
A BSP implementation document published in the British Dental Journal (BDJ) describes the important points of the 2017 classification, provides BSP management guidelines and gives a rationale for the differences between the 2017 and 1999 classifications.3 The BDJ also published an illustrative case study.4

Flowcharts – available to Dental Protection members

The BSP has produced laminated flowcharts that each practitioner can keep in their surgery and use as a quick reference guide. They have also produced a similar chart to remind practitioners how to correctly use the Basic Periodontal Examination. 

As part of our commitment to support members in managing the risks associated with periodontal diseases, we will be sending out the implementation document and flowcharts to Dental Protection members with the next edition of Riskwise. The BSP Flowchart Implementing the 2017 Classification is also available online.5

Perio – reduce your dentolegal risk

At Dental Protection we have seen a significant increase in the number of claims relating to failure to diagnose and manage periodontal disease. A substantial number of these cases involve patients whose condition goes back many years and it is not unusual for some allegations to date back 10 to 15 years given the chronic nature of most periodontal diseases.

To guard against the risk of future periodontal claims, it is essential that dentists maintain the highest standard of record keeping which reflects the screening, assessment, diagnosis and management of periodontal diseases. The clinical records should also include details of the advice given to the patient and the consent and decision-making process noted.

To learn more about managing the risks of periodontal disease login to Prism, our elearning platform. A 45 minute interactive module is available to all members that will highlight the common risks and pitfalls associated with periodontal disease and suggest ways of managing these areas of risk.


1. European Federation of Periodontology. Proceedings of ground-breaking World Workshop on new classification are published. Available at
2. British Society of Periodontology. Periodontal diagnosis in the context of the 2017 classification system of periodontal diseases and conditions – implementation in clinical practice. Available at
3. T. Dietrich et al. ‘Periodontal diagnosis in the context of the 2017 classification system of periodontal diseases and conditions – implementation in clinical practice’ BDJ 226.16–22 (11 January 2019).
4. C. Walter et al. Periodontal diagnosis in the context of the BSP implementation plan for the 2017 classification system of periodontal diseases and conditions: presentation of a pair of young siblings with periodontitis’ BDJ 226 23–26 (11 January 2019).
5. BSP. Flowchart Implementing the 2017 Classification. Available from

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