June 16, 2009
School of Dentistry, Kochi
At the Second Annual Conference of the Society of Periodontologists and Implantologists of Kerala, Dr. Angel Jacob from the Amrita School of Dentistry’s Department of Periodontics, received the Best Paper Award for her work on patient compliance with periodontal therapy. Entitled Compliance with recall visits by patients with periodontal disease: Is the practitioner responsible? the scientific presentation was made at the Travancore Heritage Center in Trivandrum, May 02-03, 2009.
Periodontal disease is a form of gum disease, a chronic infection of the gums characterized by detachment of the tooth from the jaw bone. It is the most common cause of tooth loss among adults. Regular maintenance of the teeth is crucial for managing periodontal disease over the long term. Adherence to the recommended schedule of recall dental appointments after treatment is believed to be key in preventing its recurrence. A study was undertaken to determine how compliant the patients were after initial consultation or treatment, and the steps that could be taken to increase patient motivation and compliance after the visit.
Dr. Jacob conducted the study on 216 patients treated at the Department. Patient compliance after initial consultation or treatment was monitored. Key findings were determined from patient questionnaires, rating satisfaction based on motivation by the practitioner, whether patients were adequately informed of their disease and treatment options and whether they had any bad experiences during their initial treatment. The study showed that only 47% of the patients were compliant with recall visits. The findings were similar to an Italian study that showed 50% patient compliance after initial dental consultations.
Dr. Jacob’s study concluded that the primary responsibility of patient compliance and satisfaction falls on both the practitioner and the patient. Patient motivation and recall compliance can be enhanced through effective communication with the patient, providing adequate information regarding the disease and treatment options and follow up as well as persistent reminders after the initial visit, by the practitioner.
Dr. Jacob is a Reader at the Department of Periodontics at the Amrita School of Dentistry and has recently initiated a research study on diabetes mellitus related periodontal disease.