Advocating early-stage treatment and improved patient care

09 April 2019 Congress
Portrait of Søren Jepsen

Prof. Søren Jepsen, DDS, MD, MS, PhD

Professor and chair of the Department of Periodontology, Operative and Preventive Dentistry, at the University of Bonn in Germany

What was the motivation behind the development of the new classification of periodontal and peri-implant diseases?

First of all, it was time for an update: the previous classification was from 1999. Since then, a significant amount of research on aetiology and pathogenesis has been done and plenty of new evidence has emerged.

"Interestingly, periodontal health had never been defined – so it was time to do that."

What’s more, the past distinction between chronic and aggressive periodontitis was unclear and had to be abandoned in light of new data. Peri-implant diseases, which are becoming increasingly prevalent, also had to be addressed for the first time. Finally, a major effort had to be made to establish an internationally accepted classification by involving experts from all over the world.

How do you expect the new classification to impact patient care?

An up-to-date classification allows us to make the correct diagnosis, which we need to be able to adequately treat the disease.

"We expect the new classification to have a very positive impact on patient care, especially with its personalized precision medicine approach."

Why is it important for all oral health professionals to understand the similarities and differences between periodontitis and peri-implantitis?

The question is whether we can take the well-established therapeutic concepts that work so well in periodontitis and successfully apply them to the management of peri-implant diseases. This is critical, because we need to understand that, in fact, peri-implant diseases progress faster and are more difficult to treat than periodontitis – especially in more advanced stages. Therefore, prevention and early detection is of key importance.

What is the main message you would like to share with your audience in San Francisco?

Please adopt the new classification and apply it in your practice to be able to improve patient care. Watch out for early signs of periodontal and peri-implant diseases so that you can diagnose and treat them at an early stage.

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