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Bone loss in periodontitis results from inflammatory reactions that stimulate osteoclastic bone resorption. Bisphosphonates inhibit bone resorption and increase bone mass. This study evaluated the effect of bisphosphonate therapy as an adjunct to non-surgical periodontal treatment in patients with moderate to severe chronic periodontitis.Patients were randomized (2:1) to one of two bisphosphonate therapies or placebo for 1 year. All patients received non-surgical periodontal treatment (scaling, root planing) and periodontal maintenance therapy every 3 months. Clinical assessments at baseline and 6 and 12 months included clinical attachment level (CAL), probing depth (PD), and bleeding on probing (BOP). Periodontal bone mass was assessed by dental radiographs at baseline and 12 months using fractal analysis and digital subtraction radiography (DSR).Seventy patients were randomized, 43 to the bisphosphonate group and 27 to the placebo group. Bisphosphonate therapy significantly improved CAL, PD, and BOP relative to the placebo group during the 6- to 12-month period (CAL, P = 0.0002; PD, P = 0.0156; BOP, P = 0.0079). There was no difference in the change in periodontal bone mass between the bisphosphonate and placebo groups as measured by fractal analysis and DSR.These data suggest that bisphosphonate treatment improves the clinical outcome of non-surgical periodontal therapy and may be an appropriate adjunctive treatment to preserve periodontal bone mass.