“root planning” [all fields]

UPDATE May 13, 2016, see below.


It took a short while to convince Thieme Publishing that the picture above was best suited to represent “the essentials” in Periodontology even in 2015 when the 2nd edition of my book appeared. Scaling and root planing has been, still is and probably will be for years to come the essential treatment of periodontal disease. After all, about 46% of U.S. adults have periodontitis and are in dire need for it, and figures in other countries won’t be so much different. Severe periodontitis may in fact be the sixth most prevalent disease in the world, but need for proper scaling and root planing is much more.

I have recently noticed in PubMed more frequently what I had long considered a typing error due to MS WORD’s autocorrect function: “planning” when writing planing (even when writing these lines, planing is underlined in red indicating a possible error). I have seen it even in the titles of certain scientific articles. Recently, I had checked one of my own articles in that regard and had noticed that the original was correct as was its PubMed entry, but that it had apparently been changed later by Wiley to root “planning”. When I complained to Wiley, they promised to take care of it, so far to no avail.


A quick search in PubMed yields incredible 304 hits for “root planning”. The first 20 hits reveal that the term was part of the title in four articles. Nine articles were written by Indian scientists, and 10 had been published in open access journals. Forty-nine of 50 PubMed hits targeting “root planning” had been published after December 2014, and there seems to be a surge of in particular Indian articles since 2015 in which “root planning” has almost been established as a periodontal term (even a key word).

One paper among the first 20 hits for “root planning”  is published in one of our hardcore journals (Pradeep et al. J Periodontol) and  has been accepted for publication but not been copy-edited yet. Another one is published in Clin Oral Investig (“Epub ahead of print”), a clinical journal in Dentistry with a very broad scope. Being a member of the Editorial Board, I had heavily reviewed manuscripts for that periodical in previous years. Systematic search with search terms “root planning”[all fields] AND “Clin Oral Investig”[journal] revealed seven hits since 2005, all containing the suspicious “root planning” in the abstract. Three papers were published since January 2015, indicating a current problem with peer review (I have not been involved in reviewing any of these seven papers).

A somewhat different picture emerged when checking the 28 hits after searching for “root planning”[all fields] AND “J Clin Periodontol”[journal]. They covered a period between 1975 and 2006. But only four papers actually contained the suspicious term in the original abstract, papers by Ryan et al. (1984), Grisi et al. (2002), Araujo et al. (2003) and Xajigeorgiou et al. (2006). There were 24 papers when the search for “root planning” was confined to J Periodontol since 1968. One paper of 2016, not edited yet, by Pradeep et al. actually contained the error.  All other articles did contain the suspicious term in titles and/or abstract only in PubMed but not in the original. Two papers in J Periodontal Res were listed after searching for “root planning”, one from South Korea where the term was actually found in the Journal’s original abstract (Choi et al. 2004) and another from 1997 (Elter et al. 1997), where it couldn’t be found in the original.

Apparently, it had been the US National Center of Biotechnology, which provides PubMed, which had changed planing to “planning”, and after Wiley had merged with Blackwell Publishing in 2007, they had kept the erroneous term in their published abstracts.

When has “root planing” been introduced as a basic mean of periodontal treatment? Apparently in a strange article by Dr. M.D. Schulke in Orlando, FL, in 1966 who advised his colleagues to do it after the application of rubber dam.

28 April 2016 @ 7:30 am.

UPDATE May 13, 2016. After couple of emails, Wiley finally corrected the embarrassing misspelling of root “planning” in my old paper.





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