Objectives: To assess the bleeding on probing (BOP) tendency and periodontal probe penetration when applying various probing forces at implant sites in patients with a high standard of oral hygiene with well-maintained peri-implant tissues.
Material and methods: Seventeen healthy patients with excellent oral hygiene in a maintenance program after having been treated for periodontitis or gingivitis were recruited. Missing teeth had been replaced using oral implants. The BOP and probing depth (PPD) were assessed at the mid-buccal, mid-oral, mesial and distal aspects of the buccal surfaces of each implant. Moreover, contralateral teeth were designated and assessed for BOP and PPD in the same locations and at the same observation visits. At each visit, implants and contralateral teeth were randomly assigned to one of the standardized probing forces (0.15 or 0.25 N). The second probing force was applied at the repetition of the examination 7 days later.
Results: Increasing the probing pressure by 0.1 N from 0.15 N resulted in an increase of BOP percentage by 13.7% and 6.6% for implants and contralateral teeth, respectively. There appeared to be a significant difference of the mean BOP percentage at implant and tooth sites when a probing pressure of 0.25 N was applied. A significantly deeper mean PPD at implant sites compared with tooth sites was found irrespective of the probing pressure applied.
Conclusions: The results of the present study demonstrated that 0.15 N might represent the threshold pressure to be applied to avoid false positive BOP readings around oral implants. Hence, probing around implants demonstrated a higher sensitivity compared with probing around teeth.