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J Clin Periodontol. 1996 Feb;23(2):112-8.

Occurrence of Actinobacillus actinomycetemcomitans in patients wearing orthodontic appliances. A cross-sectional study.

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Department of Periodontology, University G. D'Annunzio Chieti, Italy.


The aim of the present study was to assess: (1) the occurrence of Actinobacillus actinomycetemcomitans (Aa) in subgingival plaque from young patients undergoing orthodontic treatment with fixed appliances; (2) a possible relationship between the presence of Aa and the clinical conditions; (3) a relation between the duration of orthodontic treatment and the microbiological and clinical parameters; (4) whether differences exist when taking into consideration the different type of appliances, i.e., bands or brackets. 34 subjects aged between 12 and 20 years participated in the study. Of these, 20 subjects had worn orthodontic appliances (test group), while the remaining 14 subjects served as matched control (control group). 4 to 8 sites in each patient were available for clinical and microbiological examination. Clinical parameters consisted of presence/absence of plaque and gingival bleeding index (GBI). Microbiological sampling was performed in the same sites as in the clinical examination. A statistically significant difference was present when comparing %s of GBI positive scores between teeth from the test group (57.5%) and teeth from the control group (25%). Plaque was present in 53% of test sites and 37% of control sites, but this difference was not statistically significant. Aa was detected from at least one site in 85% of test subjects and in 15% of the control subjects (p < 0.001). Among the subjects, 41% harboured Aa at a concentration between 0.1% and 1.0%, whereas another 40% yielded Aa at a concentration greater than 1.0%. Finally, a positive correlation was noted between the % of sites positive for Aa and the % of sites displaying a positive GBI score (r = 0.41; p < 0.005). No relation was found between the duration of orthodontic treatment and the microbiological or clinical parameters; neither were statistically significant differences found when we compared results from sites wearing bands or brackets. In conclusion, the present study showed that young subjects wearing orthodontic appliances harbour Aa with a remarkable frequency of detection, although plaque levels do not significantly differ from those of a matched control group.

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