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J Dent Res. 2005 Apr;84(4):340-4.

Initial subgingival colonization of 'pristine' pockets.

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Department of Periodontology, Oral Pathology and Maxillo-Facial Surgery, Faculty of Medicine, Catholic University of Leuven, Kapucijnenvoer 7, B-3000 Leuven, Belgium.


The treatment of periodontitis/peri-implantitis involves the reduction/eradication of periopathogens. After therapy, beneficial and pathogenic species recolonize the subgingival area. The dynamics of recolonization and especially the role of the supragingival environment in this process are still not well-understood. This prospective, split-mouth study followed the early colonization of 'pristine' pockets created during implant surgery (16 partially edentulous patients), to record the time needed before a complex subgingival flora could be established with the supragingival area as the single source. Four subgingival plaque samples were taken from shallow and medium pockets around implants (test), and neighboring teeth (undisturbed microbiota as reference) 1, 2, and 4 wks after abutment connection. Checkerboard DNA-DNA hybridization and culture data revealed a complex microbiota (including several pathogenic species) in the pristine pockets within a wk, with a minimal increase in counts up to 4 wks. Analysis of these data demonstrated that, even with the supragingival environment as the single source for colonizing bacteria, a complex subgingival microbiota can develop within 1 wk.

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