The aim of this study was to compare the relative intra- and inter-examiner reproducibility of 4 different periodontal probes. (1) The Hu- Friedy LL 20 Probe, a manual probe. (2) The Vivacare TPS Probe, a plastic manual probe with a standardised pressure of 0.20 N. (3) The Vine Valley Probe, an electronic probe using a standardised pressure of 0.25 N. 4. The Peri Probe Comp, a computerised electronic probe with a controlled pressure of 0.45 N in 2 mm pockets to 0.25 N in 13 mm pockets. Duplicate probing measurements were taken by 2 examiners in 10 patients on 3 index teeth, 1 molar, 1 premolar and 1 incisor at 6 sites per tooth. Teeth were selected to incorporate both shallow (< 5 mm) and deeper (> or = 5 mm) periodontal sites. The order of probes and examiners were changed in a systematic manner and measurements were repeated 1 week later to avoid bias due to examiner memory. Results show that the manual probe had the lowest degree of variation, with a correlation coefficient of 0.83. The manual and Peri Probe Comp frequently recorded deeper probing pocket depths compared to the TPS and Vine Valley probes. The results may have been influenced by the lack of familiarity with the automated probes.
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