Background: The recognition over the past 3 decades of microbial specificity in periodontitis has afforded dental practitioners the ability to prevent and treat the disease with a variety of antimicrobial drugs. These include systemic antibiotics, topical antibiotics and topical antiseptics.
Results: Systemic antibiotic therapy can be essential in eliminating pathogenic bacteria that invade gingival tissue and in helping control periodontal pathogens residing in various domains of the mouth from where they may translocate to periodontal sites. Frequently used periodontal combination antibiotic therapies are metronidazole-amoxicillin (250-375 mg of each 3 x daily for 8 days) and metronidazole-ciprofloxacin (500 mg of each 2 x daily for 8 days). Microbiological analysis helps determine the optimal antibiotic therapy and effectiveness of treatment. Topical antibiotics that are commercially available as controlled release devices suffer from several potential problems, including insufficient spectrum of antimicrobial activity in some periodontal polymicrobial infections, risks of producing an antibiotic resistant microbiota, and high acquisition costs. Topical antiseptics of relevance in periodontal treatment include 10% povidone-iodine placed subgingivally by a syringe for 5 min, and 0.1% sodium hypochlorite solution applied subgingivally by patients using an irrigation device.
Clinical implications: The present paper recommends periodontal treatment that includes a battery of professionally and patient-administered antimicrobial agents (properly prescribed systemic antibiotics, povidone-iodine and sodium hypochlorite subgingival irrigants, and chlorhexidine mouthrinse). Available chemotherapeutics can provide effective, safe, practical and affordable means of controlling subgingival colonization of periodontal pathogens and various types of periodontal disease.