University of Birmingham spinout Oral Health Innovations Ltd and Simplyhealth Professionals have recently announced that 100,000 assessments have been carried out by the highly regarded Denplan PreViser Patient Assessment oral health assessment tool (DEPPA). 

dentist explaining artificial teeth to patient

DEPPA is an evidence-based online individual risk assessment tool which helps patients understand their current oral health and future disease risk. It assesses an individual patient's medical history, dental history, lifestyle and their clinical status and provides feedback on current health and future disease risk directly to patients via a personalised report.

The system was developed for the UK by Oral Health Innovations Ltd to help patients understand their oral health needs and to support decision making by dental professionals.

The reports use a traffic light colour-code system of red, amber and green to indicate what is going well and what the patient needs to improve on with the help of their dental care provider.

Henry Clover, Director of Dental Policy at Simplyhealth Professionals said: “There is evidence to support that personalised biofeedback, delivered using reports such as DEPPA for patients, is more likely to trigger the emotional response required in order that behaviour change can occur than traditional methods. Improved oral health can only be achieved through a strong partnership between dentist and patient.”

Recent research has shown that patients who receive an individualised communication about risk as part of a routine dental consultation took advice on periodontal disease more seriously, and felt better able to follow it, than those who receiving a routine consultation alone (p<0.05). 

Moreover, research presented earlier this year at the International Association for Dental Research conference showed that sharing the report with patients resulted in reduced levels of bacteria in their mouths and gum inflammation, and better daily oral hygiene routines.

Iain Chapple, Professor of Periodontology and Consultant in Restorative Dentistry at the University of Birmingham, commented: “As routine dental consultations incorporate risk assessments for future disease, it is vital that we understand how to communicate this risk to patients, so they can distinguish between generalised advice and individual risk.”