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Step 4 for the treatment of periodontal diseases: implementing a supportive periodontal care programme

From Volume 51, Issue 5, May 2024 | Pages 341-345


Stephanie Leyland


Dental Therapist, Dental Practice Birmingham, Teddington, Oadby and Cambridge

Articles by Stephanie Leyland

Francis J Hughes


Professor of Periodontology, Dental Institute, King's College London, Floor 21 Tower Wing, Guy's Hospital, Great Maze Pond, London SE1 9RT, UK

Articles by Francis J Hughes

Claire McCarthy


Clinical Research Fellow/Clinical Teacher Periodontology, Faculty of Dentistry, Oral and Craniofacial Sciences, King's College London

Articles by Claire McCarthy

Email Claire McCarthy


The long-term success of periodontal treatment is critically dependent on the implementation of a regular programme of supportive periodontal care (SPC). An SPC programme involves regular recall intervals of between 3 and 12 months according to a range of factors, including patient compliance, presence of risk factors and severity of initial disease. An SPC visit will include repeat examination of the periodontal tissues, assessments of gingival bleeding and probing depths, patient plaque control and presence of new deposits. Reinforcement of OH procedures is carried out, and any professional mechanical removal of deposits carried out as required. Evidence of relapse of disease may require referral for further active therapy.

CPD/Clinical Relevance: Successful periodontal treatment in the long term is dependent on a regular supportive periodontal care programme.


As discussed extensively in other articles in this issue of Dental Update, the S3-level guidelines for periodontal care set out an evidence-based approach to the management of stage I–III periodontitis.1 In this article, we describe the implementation of step 4 procedures, supportive periodontal care (SPC), as the final stage of the S3 guideline. The specific aims of this article are to describe the new guidelines for SPC and their implementation in a clinically practical way that is applicable for everyday dental practice settings in the UK.1,2

An SPC programme is implemented after the satisfactory completion of active periodontal therapy using the procedures described in steps 1–3 of the guidelines. It is an essential component of periodontal treatment to provide long-term stability of the condition and initially depends on the achievement of adequate endpoints of active treatment. Active treatment aims at achieving the following:

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