Influence of operator skill level on the clinical outcome of non-surgical periodontal treatment: a retrospective study

Avital Kozlovsky, Alex Rapaport, Zvi Artzi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives: The aim of this study is to evaluate the effect of operators experience and skill on treatment results of initial non-surgical periodontal therapy. Materials and methods: Initial periodontal treatment was carried out by either second-year periodontal residents (PR) or last year dental students (DS). From the treatment records of patients in each group, plaque and bleeding indices, and pocket depth (PD) at baseline and at re-evaluation were collected retrospectively on each tooth at six locations. Data were separated according to tooth type, area, and probing depth categories, sub-grouped to 1–3, 4–5, and ≥ 6 mm. Results: Fifty and 49 records of DS and PR patients, accordingly, were analyzed. Initial periodontal treatment improved patient compliance in both groups and reduced signs of inflammation with significantly superior results in the PR group. Significant change in percentage of pockets was recorded in each category. The increase in percentage of sites with PD 1–3 mm and decrease in percentage of PD ≥ 6 mm pockets was significantly (p ≤ 0.001) superior in patients treated by PR. Percentage of 4–5 mm pockets was significantly reduced in both groups (p ≤ 0.01), with a significantly greater reduction in the mandibular molar and anterior teeth in the PR group. Conclusions: Experience and skill significantly affect the outcome of non-surgical periodontal therapy, with more positive improvement in patient compliance and clinical parameters when performed by a more qualified operator. Clinical relevance: Improvement of operator skills may decrease the number of residual pockets and increase patient compliance following non-surgical periodontal treatment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2927-2932
Number of pages6
JournalClinical Oral Investigations
Issue number8
StatePublished - 1 Nov 2018


  • Initial therapy
  • Non-surgical therapy
  • Operator experience
  • Periodontal re-evaluation
  • Scaling and root planing


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