Effectiveness of systemic antimicrobial therapy in combination with scaling and root planing in the treatment of periodontitis: A systematic review

Pablo Garcia Canas, Ismael Khouly, Javier Sanz, Peter M. Loomer

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Background The use of systemic antibiotics in conjunction with scaling and root planing (SRP) may improve the clinical outcome and even could be essential for a successful treatment of periodontitis. However, the effectiveness and clinical safety of this combination of therapy remain unclear. The authors of this study reviewed the available literature related to this hypothesis, evaluating the effectiveness of the use of systemic antimicrobials in combination with SRP versus SRP alone in the treatment of chronic periodontitis (CP) or aggressive periodontitis (AgP). Methods The authors used 3 electronic databases and hand searched articles published from April 2001 through October 2013 in selected journals. The authors selected clinical trials with a minimum of 6 months follow-up during which patients with either CP or AgP had been treated with systemic antibiotics plus SRP in comparison with SRP alone or with placebo. The authors analyzed the gain in clinical attachment level (CAL), reduction in probing pocket depth (PPD), reduction in bleeding on probing (BOP), and patient-related variables (that is, adverse effects). Results After the selection process, the authors included 23 clinical trials in this review. Assessment of the quality of the studies revealed the risk of bias as a common finding. Overall, there was a tendency toward improvement of the measured outcomes, CAL, PPD, and BOP in studies for which systemic antibiotics were used as adjunctive therapy with SRP. Conclusion Owing to the high level of heterogeneity of the studies included in this review, the authors could not establish definitive conclusions and guidelines regarding the use of adjunctive systemic antibiotics. However, within the limitations of this review, the use of systemic antibiotics with SRP may be beneficial for specific populations. Standardized clinical disease diagnostic criteria and additional randomized controlled clinical trials are necessary to verify the effectiveness of the use of adjunctive systemic antimicrobials with SRP. Practical Implications Owing to methodological differences and biases among clinical trials evaluating systemic antibiotics adjunctive to SRP, clinicians should base their decisions to prescribe on the results of weighing both benefits and risks for each patient. 2015 American Dental Association. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)150-163
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of the American Dental Association
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Periodontitis antibiotics scaling and root planing systematic review

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dentistry(all)


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