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VOLUME 22 , ISSUE 1 ( January, 2021 ) > List of Articles


Comparative In Vitro Evaluation of WHO Periodontal Probe and #11/12 Dental Explorer for Subgingival Calculus Detection

Thomas E Rams, Marc P Manos

Keywords : Dental calculus, Diagnosis, In vitro, ODU 11/12 explorer, WHO probe

Citation Information : Rams TE, Manos MP. Comparative In Vitro Evaluation of WHO Periodontal Probe and #11/12 Dental Explorer for Subgingival Calculus Detection. J Contemp Dent Pract 2021; 22 (1):13-17.

DOI: 10.5005/jp-journals-10024-3033

License: CC BY-NC 4.0

Published Online: 19-04-2021

Copyright Statement:  Copyright © 2021; Jaypee Brothers Medical Publishers (P) Ltd.


Aim: The World Health Organization (WHO) periodontal probe is recommended for epidemiologic surveys and periodontal screening, but its ability to identify subgingival dental calculus (DC) relative to a #11/12 explorer is not known. This study compared in vitro the ability of the WHO probe and a #11/12 explorer to detect subgingival DC. Materials and methods: Three typodont models with randomly distributed artificial DC on mandibular molar and premolar root surfaces were assessed with a WHO periodontal probe and a #11/12 explorer by two periodontists. The diagnostic performance of the two instruments for subgingival DC detection was compared using 2 × 2 contingency table analysis. Results: A #11/12 explorer provided better reproducibility, a higher level of sensitivity, higher positive predictive values, higher negative predictive values, and greater overall accuracy (diagnostic effectiveness) (76.9% vs. 68.5% for the first periodontist; 87.0% vs. 75.0% for the second periodontist) for detection of subgingival DC than the WHO probe. Conclusion: The in vitro diagnostic performance of a #11/12 explorer was superior to the WHO periodontal probe for identification of subgingival DC. Clinical significance: A #11/12 explorer, rather than the WHO probe, is recommended for identification of subgingival DC.

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