Periodontal pathogen levels in adolescents before, during, and after fixed orthodontic appliance therapy

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This purpose of this study was to document and investigate changes in periodontal pathogen levels before, during, and after orthodontic treatment in adolescents.


DNA gene probe analysis was used to quantify the levels of 8 periodontal pathogens before, during, and after treatment with fixed orthodontic appliances in 190 concurrently treated adolescent orthodontic patients. The 8 pathogens examined were Actinobacillus actinomycetemcomitans (AA), Porphyromonas gingivalis (PG), Prevotella intermedia (PI), Tannerella forsythia (TF), Eikenella corrodens (EC), Fusobacterium nucleatum (FN), Treponema denticola (TD), and Campylobacter rectus (CR). Chi-square tests were used to determine whether the percentages of subjects with high counts significantly changed over time. Logistic regression analyses were also performed to derive the relative risk of higher counts of pathogenic bacteria with fixed appliances at the various time intervals studied.


For 6 (PI, TF, EC, FN, TD, CR) of the 8 pathogens, the percentages of subjects with high pathogen counts increased significantly after 6 months of fixed appliance treatment, but these returned to pretreatment levels by 12 months of orthodontic treatment. No pathogen level was significantly higher after 12 months of orthodontic treatment, and orthodontic treatment was found to be significantly protective for half of the pathogens (EC, FN, TD, CR) posttreatment.


Orthodontic treatment with fixed appliances does not increase the risk of high levels of these periodontal pathogens.

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