Reliability of trans-gingival probing in evaluating gingival thickness: a pilot study
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INTRODUCTION: Gingival tissue thickness plays an important role in that it affects the health of natural teeth and prosthetics, periodontal health, gingival recession, underlying bone quality, and periodontal therapy. Therefore, various methods of gingival thickness assessment have been introduced. However, current modes of assessment are controversial in reliability and safety for patients. OBJECTIVE: The goal of this study was to evaluate the accuracy of using trans-gingival probing as means of determining gingival thickness. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Twenty subjects were included in this pilot study. The gingival biotypes were characterized as either thick or thin. The gingival assessment was conducted by two highly experienced periodontists. The patients were evaluated first by trans-gingival probing. Then, gingiva was reflected to obtain tension-free caliper measurement. RESULTS: It was observed that that the trans-gingival probing methods on average overestimates the caliper measurements by 0.025 mm and had no statistical significantly difference from the tension-free caliper (p-value= 0.77). CONCLUSIONS: The data collected in this pilot study provides important evidence that the periodontal probe is an accurate means to measure gingival thickness.