Periodontal Screening and Recording: Its Use When Detecting Periodontal Disease

Course Number: 617


Gingivitis and periodontitis fall into the category of periodontal diseases. Both are microbial infections of the periodontium, where the microorganisms operate in conjunction with a person’s host response.7 The dental hygienist is most often the person in the professional dental setting who screens patients and assesses periodontal health or disease. The most commonly used screening method for the measurement of depth of the gingival sulcus and the clinical attachment level is periodontal probing.6 The clinician, by measuring probing depths, can make assumptions of the state of health of the periodontium. Early detection and diagnosis are significant components in the prevention of periodontal disease. The American Academy of Periodontology (AAP) recommends every dental patient should receive a comprehensive periodontology evaluation annually.11 The Periodontal Screening and Recording® (PSR) system is one example of a diagnostic aid used to assess the periodontal health of patients. The PSR system has been used to study the relationship in overweight and obese patients who smoke as well as a way to estimate the periodontal health statuses of a representative military population.2,8 A study by Khocht et al found the PSR to be an effective tool in the screening of periodontal diseases.4 The PSR has been used to detect the periodontal status of individuals with immunoglobulin A deficiency.12 Overall, there are a limited number of studies involving use of the PSR.


In 1982, the World Health Organization (WHO) created the Community Periodontal Index of Treatment Needs (CPITN). This method of evaluation estimated the periodontal disease prevalence and severity based on the probing depths and condition of the periodontium. In 1992, the AAP modified the Simplified Periodontal Examination (SPE), used in New Zealand, and developed the PSR system for use in North America (journal article). With the corporate sponsorship of the Procter & Gamble Company, the AAP and the American Dental Association (ADA) adopted the PSR system.3

The PSR system was designed to initiate the promotion, prevention, and early treatment of periodontal diseases by:

  • Introducing a simplified screening method that met legal dental recording requirements.

  • Encouraging dentists to incorporate the PSR system into every oral examination.

  • Educating members of the public to value periodontal health and to request a periodontal screening from dentists (PSR Training Program, 1992).