Amidst all the details that must be managed day in and day out at a dental practice, I’d like to bring to light something I find super important that is often neglected. Let me begin by asking a question: When is the last time you took a good look at your perio probes? I mean a really good look!
My guess is you will find different shapes, sizes, colors, materials, ages, and markings. Maybe this doesn’t seem like the worst tragedy in the grand scope of the world, and yet, having even two different probes in the office can set the stage for lack of continuity in your patient diagnoses.
Why Perio Probes Matter
It does seem like there are as many choices in probes these days as there are stars in the sky, so how can you make the best decision when it comes down to buying?
Although I do recognize the need and desire to have options, at the end of the day I encourage you to consider which probe provides the LEAST probable chance of creating error. Although I have used (and observe people using) a huge variety of probes, my favorite by far is the UNC-15. Due to markings at every mm up to 15, there is virtually no guesswork in capturing and documenting data with a high level of accuracy.
As you make the decision of exactly which probe you will use exclusively in your practice, please also consider calibrating all dentists and hygienists on an ongoing basis. It is typically easy to notice that probing techniques will vary from person to person. Watching and learning from each other with the ultimate goal of having everyone in agreement about how you will probe is invaluable.
Lastly, remember that an accurate periodontal diagnosis can only be made when a comprehensive periodontal assessment is completed and documented. Your probe is designed to be used for measuring pocket depths, recession, bleeding, pus, and attached gingiva. Oh, and don’t forget to check for mobility and furcations while you’re at it.
Here’s to a future of more accurate and calibrated perio probing in your office!