The vast majority of periodontal diseases are caused by microorganisms that reside at or below the gingival margin. The best way to control these periodontal infections is to control the pathogenic species residing in these locations. The present article reviews some of the literature regarding the impact of different periodontal therapies on the subgingival microbiota. It will emphasize the treatment of the most common form of periodontal infection – chronic periodontitis – and examine the microbiological effects of different forms of therapy, such as supragingival cleaning, subgingival scaling and root planing, antibiotic therapies and surgical procedures. Different studies have attempted to describe which species are affected by each therapy, the duration of the effect, the relationship between microbial and clinical outcomes, and the diagnostic and prognostic value of evaluated target species before and after periodontal therapy. We will discuss the impact of the methods utilized to assess the microbiota on study outcome, whether eradication of certain species is a requirement for therapeutic success and the most likely sources of re-infection after therapy.
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