Aim of the study: This study was aimed at assessing the efficacy of subgingival plaque removal in buccal and lingual sites during supportive periodontal therapy (SPT) using a novel low abrasive air-polishing powder.
Material and methods: In 27 SPT patients, subgingival debridement was performed using the novel air-polishing powder (test) and hand instruments (positive control) in a randomized split mouth design. Before and immediately after treatment, subgingival plaque samples were taken from two teeth with pockets of 3-5 mm depth in both groups. To assess the influence of plaque sampling on the microflora, samples were also taken twice from two untreated teeth (negative control). The mean reduction in total colony forming units (CFU) was assessed by anaerobic culture. The patients' perception of treatment was assessed by a visual analog score (VAS). Therapy and plaque sampling were repeated after a 3-month interval.
Results: Test treatment resulted in a significantly greater reduction in mean CFU than positive control treatment (log 1.7+/-0.98 and log 0.61+/-0.79 respectively; p<0.05). Following both treatments, the CFU reduction was significantly greater compared to negative control treatment (log 0.06+/-0.49; p<0.05). In addition, test treatment was perceived as significantly more pleasant than hand instrumentation (p<0.05).
Conclusion: The novel low abrasive air-polishing powder is superior to curettes in removing subgingival plaque from pockets of 3-5 mm depth in supportive periodontal therapy and offers greater patient comfort.