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Online ISSN 1827-174X
Pizzo G., Guiglia R., Gallo P., D'Angelo M., Giuliana G.
Background. The organisation of periodontal health prevention programmes must take into account the public level of awareness of the periodontal diseases. The aim of the present investigation was to assess the relationships between the request of dental care and the periodontal treatment needs in a population sample of Palermo.
Methods. The study population consisted of 554 out-patients, consecutively examined during 18 months (January 1999 to June 2000) at the Palermo University Department of Oral Sciences. All participants answered a written questionnaire concerning the cause for the request of dental care and periodontal symptoms. Periodontal treatment needs were assessed using the Community Periodontal Index of Treatment Needs (CPITN).
Results. Statistical analysis (Chi-Square Test, Fisher's Exact Test) showed significant discrepancies between the request of dental care and the periodontal treatment needs, poor awareness of periodontal diseases and low perception of their symptoms by the patients.
Conclusions. These findings showed that the awareness of periodontal diseases by the population examined is poor. This could be due either to the lack or failure of public education programmes on periodontal health. Yet, it could be related to an inadequate dentists' awareness of the periodontal diseases. Such findings should be considered in the planning of periodontal health programmes in relation to the population of Palermo.