Classification of indices

In general, there are two types of Dental indices.

The first type of index measures the ‘number’ or ‘proportion ‘ of people in a population with or without a specific condition at a specific point in time or interval of time.

The send type of Dental index measures the ‘number of people affected’ and the ‘severity’ of a specific condition at a specific time or interval of time.

1.Based upon the direction in which their scores can fluctuate:

▪️Irreversible index:

An index that measures conditions whose scores will not decrease on subsequent examinations. Eg: DMFT index.

▪️Reversible index:

An index that measures conditions that can increase or decrease on subsequent examinations. Eg: Loe and Silness gingival index.

2.Depending upon the extent to which areas of oral cavity are measured

▪️Full mouth indices:

These indices measure the patient’s entire periodontium or dentition. Eg: Russell’s Periodontal Index

▪️Simplified indices:

These indices measure only a representative sample of the dental apparatus. Eg: Greene and Vermillion’s Oral Hygiene index – Simplified

3.Indices may be classified under certain general categories according to the entity which they measure

▪️Disease index:

The ‘D’ (decay) portion of the DMFT index best exemplifies a disease index.

▪️Symptom index:

The indices measuring gingival/sulcular bleeding are essentially symptom indices.

▪️Treatment index:

The ‘F’ (filled) portion of the DMFT index best exemplifies a treatment index.

4.Dental indices can also be classified under special categories as,

▪️Simple index

An index that measures the presence or absence of a condition. Eg: Silness and Loe Plaque Index

▪️Cumulative index:

Am index that measures all the evidence of a condition, past and present. Eg:DMFT index for dental caries.

References:

Textbook of Public Health Dentistry – Soben Peter 6th edition.

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