Tracking periodontal disease to improve diagnosis and treatment

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tracking periodontal disease
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Researchers from the US have developed computer algorithms to track periodontal disease change, which could help dentists and periodontists follow disease progression. The team—a collaboration between Regenstrief Institute and Indiana University School of Dentistry—has also have developed tools to enable the use of electronic dental record data to automate diagnosis of the disease.

Their work is published in Diagnostics.

“Gum disease, which is typically underdiagnosed, is reversible if caught at an early stage before it has affected underlying structures and adversely impacted tooth support,” Dr Thankam Thyvalikakath said.

“Enabling dentists to track the disease using both the information in clinical notes and the periodontal charting data contained in a patient’s electronic dental record can enable diagnosis and hope.

“We are here to develop and establish a culture of documenting and diagnosing cases in a structured manner as is done in medicine,” she added.

“I think the advantage of our approaches is that using routinely collected data, we can automate and monitor gum disease treatments and changes that are visible only clinically, so we can catch gum disease at an early, potentially reversible, stage. This contrasts with other approaches that leverage only radiographs, which only show advanced gum disease.”

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