These are exciting times in the world of periodontology. The 2017 World Workshop, a combined collaboration by the European Federation of Periodontology (EFP) and the American Academy of Periodontology (AAP), has culminated in a new classification system for periodontal and peri-implant diseases and conditions. This is the first major update to the classification of periodontal disease since 1999 and is the most evidence-based and clinically relevant system that has ever been proposed. More than 170 leading clinicians and researchers from across the globe (including representation from Canadian periodontists) were involved in the monumental task of revising, clarifying and improving the classification system so we, the clinicians, can better communicate with each other and be more effective in our treatment of our patients.

Importantly, this classification system is the new standard of salient clinical information that all dental professionals around the world should be aware of and should adopt in their practice with regards to periodontal and peri-implant diseases.

The comprehensive classification is based upon the most contemporary evidence and includes a staging and grading system for periodontitis, indicating severity and extent of disease, accounting for lifetime disease experience and considering the patient’s overall health status. The complete review of primary information and consensus reports for the innovative model for understanding and diagnosing periodontal diseases was simultaneously published in 17 articles including four review papers in the Journal of Clinical Periodontology and the Journal of Periodontology in June 2018. The new classification system (Table 1) will be presented for the first time in North America at the American Academy of Periodontology meeting in November 2018 in Vancouver.

This paper aims to distill the most striking changes and the most important concepts into several key tables suitable for immediate chair side implementation. There are many significant changes in this update that will improve the clinician’s understanding of periodontal disease progression, potential risk factors and allows the clinician to diagnose the patient based on a system of staging and grading, similar to the system used in the practice of oncology, never before employed in periodontal diagnosis.

Written by: Peter C. Fritz, BSc, DDS, FRCD(C), PhD (Perio), MBA; Wendy E. Ward, B.Arts&Sci, BSc, MSc, PhD; Amanda B. Longo, BSc, MSc, PhD