Longitudinal changes in subgingival biofilm composition following periodontal treatment

William Johnston, Bob T. Rosier, Miguel Carda-Diéguez, Michael Paterson, Paddy Watson, Krystyna Piela, Marilyn Goulding, Gordon Ramage, Divyashri Baranyia, Tsute Chen, Nezar N. Al-Hebshi, Alex Mira, Shauna Culshaw

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Background: Current periodontal treatment involves instrumentation using hand and/or ultrasonic instruments, which are used either alone or in combination based on patient and clinician preference, with comparable clinical outcomes. This study sought to investigate early and later changes in the subgingival biofilm following periodontal treatment, to identify whether these changes were associated with treatment outcomes, and to investigate whether the biofilm responded differently to hand compared with ultrasonic instruments. Methods: This was a secondary-outcome analysis of a randomized-controlled trial. Thirty-eight periodontitis patients received full-mouth subgingival instrumentation using hand (n = 20) or ultrasonic instrumentation (n = 18). Subgingival plaque was sampled at baseline and 1, 7, and 90 days following treatment. Bacterial DNA was analyzed using 16S rRNA sequencing. Periodontal clinical parameters were evaluated before and after treatment. Results: Biofilm composition was comparable in both (hand and ultrasonics) treatment groups at all time points (all genera and species; p[adjusted] > 0.05). Large-scale changes were observed within groups across time points. At days 1 and 7, taxonomic diversity and dysbiosis were reduced, with an increase in health-associated genera including Streptococcus and Rothia equating to 30% to 40% of the relative abundance. When reassessed at day 90 a subset of samples reformed a microbiome more comparable with baseline, which was independent of instrumentation choice and residual disease. Conclusions: Hand and ultrasonic instruments induced comparable impacts on the subgingival plaque microbiome. There were marked early changes in the subgingival biofilm composition, although there was limited evidence that community shifts associated with treatment outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1065-1077
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Periodontology
Issue number9
StatePublished - Aug 2023


  • Dental Plaque/therapy
  • Humans
  • Microbiota
  • Periodontitis/microbiology
  • RNA, Ribosomal, 16S/genetics
  • Treatment Outcome


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