Dental index or indices can be considered as the main tool of
epidemiological studies in dental diseases, to find out the
incidence, prevalence and severity of the disease, based on which
preventive programs are adopted for their control and prevention.
An index is an expression of clinical observation in numerical
values. It is used to describe the status of the individual or
group with respect to a condition being measured. By using a number
scale and a standardized method for interpreting observation of a
condition, an index score can be more consistent and less
subjective than a word description of that condition. Indices using
various criteria have been developed to compare the extent and
severity of disease. For example, dental caries is indexed by the
number of teeth or surfaces with carious lesion and fillings. An
index for dental fluorosis identifies very mild, mild, moderate or
severe involvement of enamel ranging respectively from white spot
visible only when a tooth is dry to marked brown stain with
pitting.Various factors associated with gingivitis and periodontal
diseases have been used in the development of indices.
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