Periodontal furcation lesions: A survey of diagnosis and management by general dental practitioners

Luigi Nibali, Melissa Shemie, Guanhong Li, Rachel Ting, Koula Asimakopoulou, Giovanni Barbagallo, Ryan Lee, Peter Eickholz, Thomas Kocher, Clemens Walter, Mario Aimetti, Stefan Rüdiger
Journal Of Clinical Periodontology 48, Issue 11



The aim of this study was to explore general dental practitioners' (GDPs) attitude to periodontal furcation involvement (FI).

Materials and methods

An online survey focused on diagnosis and management of periodontal FI was circulated to GDPs in seven different countries.


A total of 400 responses were collected. Nearly a fifth of participants reported rarely or never taking 6-point pocket charts; 65.8% of participants had access to a Nabers probe in their practice. When shown clinical pictures and radiographs of FI-involved molars, the majority of participants correctly diagnosed it. Although 47.1% of participants were very/extremely confident in detecting FI, only 8.9% felt very/extremely confident at treating it. Differences in responses were detected according to country and year of qualification, with a trend towards less interest in periodontal diagnosis and treatment in younger generations. Lack of knowledge of management/referral pathways (reported by 22.8%) and lack of correct equipment were considered the biggest barriers to FI management. Most participants (80.9%) were interested in learning more about FI, ideally face to face followed by online tutorials.


Plans should be put in place to improve general dentists' knowledge and ability to manage FI, as this can have a significant impact on public health.

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