Peripheral neutrophil hyper-responsiveness in chronic periodontitis leads to excessive reactive oxygen species (ROS) production. We aimed to determine whether neutrophil hyper-responsiveness was constitutive or reactive, and to discover the effect of non-surgical therapy. Peripheral blood neutrophils from patients (n = 19), before and 3 months after therapy, and matched control individuals were Fc gamma-receptor-stimulated with/without priming with P. gingivalis and F. nucleatum. Total and extracellular ROS were determined by luminol/isoluminol chemiluminescence. The high total ROS generation of patients' neutrophils compared with that of control individuals (P = 0.016) continued at a reduced level post-therapy (P = 0.059). Reduced activity post-therapy was also seen with priming. Unstimulated total ROS levels did not differ between patients and control individuals before or after therapy. However, the high unstimulated, extracellular ROS production by patients' neutrophils compared with control individuals (P < 0.05) continued post-therapy and was unaffected by priming. Therapy reduced Fc gamma-receptor-stimulated total ROS production, but not unstimulated extracellular radical release, suggesting that constitutive and reactive mechanisms underlie neutrophil hyper-responsiveness.