The periodontal abscess (II). Short-term clinical and microbiological efficacy of 2 systemic antibiotic regimes

J Clin Periodontol. 2000 Jun;27(6):395-404. doi: 10.1034/j.1600-051x.2000.027006395.x.


Background/aims: The aim of this short-term open parallel longitudinal clinical study was to compare the clinical and microbiological efficacy of 2 different antibiotic regimes in the treatment of acute periodontal abscesses.

Method: After patient selection, a clinical examination was carried out recording the following variables: pain, edema, redness, swelling, bleeding on probing, suppuration, tooth mobility, lymphadenopathy, and probing pocket depth. Microbiological samples were taken from the lesion and the patient was randomly assigned to one of two antibiotic regimes: azithromycin or amoxicillin/clavulanate. Clinical variables were recorded, and microbiological samples were taken, at 3-5 days, 10-12 days and 30 days. Additional mechanical treatment (debridement and scaling) was performed in the third visit (10-12 days). Blood and urine samples were collected at baseline and after 10-12 days. Microbiological samples were processed by anaerobic culturing, and isolated periodontal pathogens were tested for antibiotic susceptibility by means of the spiral gradient endpoint methodology.

Results: 15 patients took azithromycin, and 14 amoxicillin/clavulanate. Subjective clinical variables demonstrated statistically significant improvements with both antibiotic regimes, which lasted for at least 1 month (p<0.01). Objective clinical variables also showed clear improvements, being statistically significant after 30 days with probing pocket depth in the azithromycin group (p<0.01). Microbiologically, short-term reductions were detected with both antibiotics, however fast recolonization occurred after the third visit. No significant differences were found between both treatment regimes. Antibiotic susceptibilities demonstrated no resistances for amoxicillin/clavulanate, while 2-3 strains of each studied pathogen were resistant to azithromycin.

Conclusions: However, both antibiotic regimes were effective in the short-term treatment of periodontal abscesses in periodontitis patients.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Controlled Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Amoxicillin-Potassium Clavulanate Combination / adverse effects
  • Amoxicillin-Potassium Clavulanate Combination / therapeutic use*
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / adverse effects
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Azithromycin / adverse effects
  • Azithromycin / therapeutic use*
  • Drug Therapy, Combination / adverse effects
  • Drug Therapy, Combination / therapeutic use*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Periodontal Abscess / diagnosis
  • Periodontal Abscess / drug therapy*
  • Periodontal Abscess / microbiology
  • Statistics, Nonparametric
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Amoxicillin-Potassium Clavulanate Combination
  • Azithromycin