Patients compliance with periodontal maintenance therapy is important for the treatment outcomes, however, most studies report compliance rates ranging from only 11% - 45%. The aims of this study were to report on the acceptance of proposed treatment and the long-term compliance of patients treated in a specialist periodontal office in Norway. This was part of an internal quality control measure for this practice. 152 consecutive patients who completed periodontal therapy in 1988 were retrospectively assessed after 10 years. In addition, the case records of 624 consecutive patients referred for periodontal assessment between 1989 and 1993 were examined to determine how many decided to accept the proposed therapy. The majority 132 (87%) of those who completed treatment in 1988 had attended for the prescribed maintenance therapy over a ten-year period. It was not possible to detect any differences between the compliers and non-compliers in terms of age, gender, severity of disease, cost and national insurance coverage. The 152 patients were originally referred by 18 general dental practitioners. The high referring dentists (>8 referrals) had significantly more non-complying patients than dentists who made less than 7 referrals. 20 (3%) of the 624 periodontal referrals over a 5-year period chose not to proceed with the proposed therapy. There was a high level of patient compliance in the population group studied in this specialist periodontal practice. Geographic and cultural factors as well as a stable rural population may be important factors in the high level of compliance with maintenance therapy in this practice. The referring general dental practitioners may also play an important role in patient compliance.
Keywords: periodontal maintenance, patient compliance, acceptance of therapy, specialist periodontal practice