A thin or thick probe handle: does it make a difference?

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ObjectivesThe aim of the present study was to assess the probing force exerted when using two manual periodontal probes with different handle diameters in hands of different dental professionals.MethodsFor this study two periodontal probes with handle diameters of 54 and 92 mm were used. The 11 subjects responsible for the measurements were periodontists, postgraduate periodontal students and dental hygienists. Per measurement session, 20 measurements were performed by each subject. Each probe was used 10 times. After the first baseline measurement session, a second session was performed 1 week later and a last third session another 3 weeks later. Orders for using each probe were randomized for each subject and each session.ResultsThe mean overall force with the thin probe was 55.2 g and with the thick probe 59.4 g. The difference of 4.2 g between the two probe types was found to be statistically significant (P = 0.041).ConclusionThe present study showed that the diameter of the probe handle also had an effect on the force exerted with a periodontal probe. However, the clinical relevance of this difference may be minor, when considering the interindividual variance of forces exerted when probing.

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