Locally delivered antimicrobials in the management of periodontitis: a critical review of the evidence for their use in practice

Dent Update. 2007 Oct;34(8):494-6, 499-502, 505-6. doi: 10.12968/denu.2007.34.8.494.


Plaque bacteria are the primary initiators of periodontal disease in susceptible persons and therapy is largely based on mechanical bacterial biofilm disruption. Patients' response to periodontal treatment is unpredictable and periodontal stability is not always achieved. Locally delivered antimicrobials (LDAs) may be used as adjuncts to mechanical therapy in treatment of recalcitrant deep (> or = 5mm), active, non-responding sites, providing the patient's oral hygiene is adequate. Their use as a monotherapy cannot be justified. The literature reveals that LDAs are safe and that they achieve statistically significant, yet clinically modest, gains in clinical attachment and reductions in pocket depths.

Clinical relevance: It has been suggested that LDAs may improve the clinical outcome in the treatment of recurrent and refractory cases of periodontitis when used as an adjunct to scaling and root surface instrumentation. This paper examines and discusses the evidence.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / administration & dosage
  • Anti-Infective Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Anti-Infective Agents / adverse effects
  • Combined Modality Therapy / methods
  • Drug Implants / administration & dosage
  • Drug Implants / adverse effects
  • Humans
  • Metronidazole / administration & dosage
  • Metronidazole / adverse effects
  • Periodontitis / drug therapy*
  • Tetracycline / administration & dosage
  • Tetracycline / adverse effects


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Anti-Infective Agents
  • Drug Implants
  • Metronidazole
  • Tetracycline