Data SourcesThe Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, PubMed Medline and Latin American and Caribbean Health Science literature databases were searched, and searches made by hand of identified papers, to source relevant data. (BIOSIS Previews) were searched. There were no language restrictions.Study selectionStudies were evaluated by two reviewers independently. Only clinical trials were included that were published in the English, Spanish and Portuguese languages and were performed on humans. Articles were excluded when the examiners were not calibrated; when they did not compare manual and electronic probing techniques; when they did not measure the clinical attachment level (CAL); and when the subjects did not present destructive periodontal disease or had already received periodontal treatment.Data extraction and synthesisThe quality of the identified studies was assessed and standardised data extracted. Only two studies met all the selection criteria so no meta-analysis was performed.ResultsOnly two of the 37 identified articles were included in the review. The results of these two studies showed that the mean variance and the absolute mean difference between CAL measurements for the two types of probes were not statistically different.ConclusionsManual and electronic probes were of similar reliability when used to measure CAL in individuals who had untreated periodontitis and when used by a calibrated examiner, but this finding is not supported by strong evidence.
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