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Department of Periodontics

Predoctoral Program

The following list of topics represents the predoctoral Periodontics curriculum at the University of Washington. The significance and complexity of specific topics differs, and the topics are integrated with other disciplines in varying degrees.

To enhance learning the topics are presented in different formats: class lectures, reading assignments, guided self-studies, pre-clincal and clinic sessions. The program is delivered during the first, second, third, and fourth year of predoctoral dental studies in approximately 60 lecture hours and 75 clinic sessions. Some of the topics identified are of greater importance than others, and the level of student competency requirement (knowledge and skills) varies. Faculty lectures are aimed at such elements of the discipline that are best presented in the lecture format.

The Department of Periodontics has set the following educational goals. At the completion of the program the student will have gained overall competency at the level of a beginning general practitioner and will be:

  • Competent in the use of diagnostic methods and making a periodontal diagnosis.
  • Competent in making a prognosis from a periodontal perspective.
  • Knowledgeable in sequencing and planning interdisciplinary dental care with specific consideration to the periodontium.
  • Competent in delivering periodontal prophylaxis.
  • Competent in non-surgical periodontal therapy.
  • Working knowledge in basic periodontal surgery.
  • Knowledgeable in pharmacological management of anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial agents in the treatment of periodontal conditions.
  • Competent in delivery of supportive periodontal therapy.
  • Knowledgeable in management of periodontal emergencies.
  • Skilled in assessing and recognizing periodontal conditions that require referral to a specialist in periodontics and able to work with both specialists and dental hygienists.


Definition of periodontal health and disease

  • Disease severity and differential diagnosis
  • Pathogenesis of periodontal diseases
  • Etiology of periodontal diseases
  • Host-parasite interactions
  • Prevention of periodontitis
  • Gingival fluid and cytokines
  • Occlusion and tooth mobility
  • Risk indicators of periodontal diseases
  • Scientific evidence

Epidemiology of periodontal diseases

  • Natural history of periodontal disease
  • Genetic predisposition for periodontal diseases
  • Risk factors for periodontal diseases
  • Systemic conditions and periodontal diseases
  • Scientific evidence

Clinical assessments of periodontal status

  • Clinical signs of inflammation
  • Gingival indices
  • Probing depth and clinic attachment level measurements
  • Radiographic interpretation of hard tissues
  • Diagnostic methodologies
  • Treatment planning and clinical strategies
  • Scientific evidence

Self-supported care

  • Daily mechanical plaque control
  • Dental plaque and calculus
  • Oral hygiene aids
  • Bio-behavioral aspects and needs-related habits
  • Effects of plaque control
  • Scientific evidence of efficacy

Chemical plaque control

  • Chemical plaque control agents
  • Antimicrobials
  • Systemic antibiotic therapy
  • Local site specific antibiotic therapy
  • Scientific evidence of efficacy

Professional nonsurgical therapy (mechanical)

  • Supra and sub-gingival plaque control
  • Plaque retentive factors
  • Root and alveolar bone anatomy
  • Contaminated root surfaces
  • Removal of calculus and cementum
  • Instrumentation for supra- and subgingival debridement
  • Techniques
  • Outcome assessment
  • Effects on microbiota
  • Scientific evidence of efficacy

Wound healing

  • Connective tissues: bone and cementum, and periodontal ligament
  • Epithelium
  • Root resorption

Corrective surgery

  • Gingivectomy
  • Flap debridement
  • Osseous surgery
  • Furcation management
  • Crown lengthening
  • Control of initial healing
  • Scientific evidence of efficacy

Reconstructive periodontal therapy (regeneration)

  • Guided tissue procedures
  • Graft materials
  • Periodontal plastic surgery (mucogingival): free gingival grafting, connective tissue grafting, GTR
  • plastic surgery
  • Scientific evidence of efficacy

Supportive therapy – monitoring and reassessing health status

  • Diagnostics
  • Treatment of disease recurrence
  • Treatment of periodontal emergencies
  • Coordination of oral health care
  • Scientific evidence of efficacy