Background: The perceptions that patients have of periodontal therapy have not been extensively studied and are not well understood. The purpose of this study was to assess the degree of discomfort associated with periodontal therapy carried out in a specialist practice.
Methods: A consecutive group of 150 patients (90 females, 60 males; mean age 54.5 years) who had completed periodontal therapy, which included surgery, in a periodontal practice in Norway was studied. The patients indicated the discomfort they had experienced with periodontal therapy on a visual analog scale (VAS). Other factors associated with postoperative discomfort such as the use of analgesics were recorded.
Results: The mean VAS scores were low for all procedures investigated. The highest mean score was recorded for anesthesia in the upper anterior region. There were small differences between the levels of discomfort reported by males compared to females. The VAS scores decreased with increasing age for anesthesia in the lower arch (P = 0.004) and surgery in the lower arch (P = 0.003). Virtually all (97%) of the patients perceived periodontal treatment to be associated with no more discomfort than conventional dental treatment.
Conclusions: Very low reported levels of discomfort were associated with both non-surgical and surgical periodontal therapy by Norwegian patients treated in a specialist periodontal practice.