Unification of the "Burst" and "Linear" Theories of Periodontal Disease Progression: A Multilevel Manifestation of the Same Phenomenon
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Previously, burst and linear theories for periodontal disease progression were proposed based on different but limited statistical methods of analysis. Multilevel modeling provides a new approach, yielding a more comprehensive model. Random coefficient models were used to analyze longitudinal periodontal data consisting of repeated measures (level 1), sites (level 2), teeth (level 3), and subjects (level 4). Large negative and highly significant correlations between random linear and quadratic time coefficients indicated that subjects and teeth with greater-thanaverage linear change experienced decelerated variation. Conversely, subjects and teeth with lessthan-average linear change experienced accelerated variation. Change therefore exhibited a dynamic regression to the mean at the tooth and subject levels. Since no equilibrium was attained throughout the study, changes were cyclical. When considered as a multilevel system, the "linear" and "burst" theories of periodontal disease progression are a manifestation of the same phenomenon: Some sites improve while others progress, in a cyclical manner.
Journal of Dental Research