The manuscript of the second edition of my compendium has been completed (this explains in part the recent calmness on this blog) and I am looking forward to receiving galley proofs from Thieme Publishing soon. The book has started as a modest compendium for undergraduate students of dentistry in the mid 1990s when I had been working at Heidelberg University. There had been three very successful German editions published by Thieme (2001, 2006, and 2012), and about 13,000 copies sold. I am glad that I had the opportunity to thoroughly update the text for an international audience.
For half a century, periodontology has spearheaded scientific progress in dentistry. A tiny portion of the vast body of literature that has shaped modern periodontology has recently been listed by the American Academy of Periodontology on the occasion of its centennial. What has kept us clinicians, teachers and scientists busy was, for example, the discovery that bacteria of the oral cavity, which play a critical role in most periodontal diseases, organize themselves in a biofilm; and that the pathogenesis of periodontitis, as that of any chronic disease, is complex and multifactorial. Opportunities and constrains of guided tissue and other forms of periodontal regeneration had been developed in painstakingly designed animal and clinical experiments, and somewhat ailing implant dentistry has eventually got a firm scientific foundation. Not least, a century-old suspicion that periodontal infections interact, in a bidirectional way, with other systemic diseases and conditions was revived and new intervention studies address possible beneficial effects of periodontal therapy on general health.
A true revolution on the horizon is, however, the application of well-defined evidence in daily practice. Despite the claim that, in particular, periodontists practice their profession up-to-date, dentists had long been inclined to pursue commercial interests, be it their own or those of providers of new and fancy developments.
That won’t be possible any longer. Since electronic search engines and, in particular, biomedical data bases are generally available, and electronic access to original articles including all backfiles is possible, new generations of practitioners shall be in the position to quickly identify, critically assess and filter the exploding amount of new data and retrieve relevant information as regards a specific clinical question or problem, online and in real time. Dentists are more and more used to ask the crucial question, “Is there any evidence?”
The recent surge of systematic reviews of, in particular, well-designed intervention studies has proved that our profession has a sound scientific foundation. The available evidence has to be graded, though, and recommendations should address patient-relevant issues. Real evidence-based medicine does include a strong interpersonal relationship between the patient with chronic disease and the therapist. Thus, continuity of care and emphatic listening is of paramount importance for conjoint decision making which does not entirely rely on the available scientific evidence but, to a large extent, also on individual circumstances.
As before, the present 2nd edition of Periodontology – The Essentials attempts to condense latest developments and concepts in an easily searchable volume. Although undergraduate dentistry and dental hygienist students are again the main target audience for the compendium, general dental practitioners and specialists in other fields of dentistry may benefit from quickly checking specific periodontal details in their daily practice as well.
Tromsø, 28 July, 2014
 Kornman KS, Robertson PB, Williams RC. The literature that shaped modern periodontology. J Periodontol 2014; 85: 3-9.
28 July 2014 @ 9:16 am.
Last modified July 28, 2014 .