A variety of microbiological diagnostic tests are available for clinicians to use for evaluation of patients with periodontal disease. Each one has its own unique set of advantages and disadvantages, and probably the most useful information for the clinician can be obtained using a combination of the various analytic methods. The tests appear to have their greatest utility when used on patients with chronic or aggressive periodontitis who do not respond favorably to conventional mechanical therapy. The major limitation of all microbiological tests is that the information obtained is relevant to the site sampled, and may not be representative of the microflora of the entire dentition. However, since it is often only specific sites that do not respond to initial therapy, knowing the constituents of the microflora that populate these sites is clinically relevant.
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