Antiseptics as adjuncts to scaling and root planing in the treatment of periodontitis: a systematic literature review

BMC Oral Health volume 20, Article number: 143 (2020) Cite this article



Periodontitis is microbially-associated, host-mediated inflammatory condition that results in loss of periodontal attachment. The goals of periodontal therapy include arresting the disease progression, establishing healthy, stable, maintainable periodontal conditions. A fundamental strategy of treating periodontitis is scaling and root planning (SRP), however its efficacy may be restricted in areas inaccessible for mechanical instrumentation. As periodontitis is infectious in nature, it might be helpful to use additional antimicrobial adjuncts, in order to eliminate or inactivate pathogenic microflora. The aim of this study is to evaluate the current evidence regarding the potential clinical benefits of using additional antiseptics for SRP in nonsurgical periodontal therapy.


An electronic literature search was conducted in the MEDLINE (Ovid) and Cohrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL) databases for articles published between January 1, 2000 and September 22, 2019. Randomized controlled clinical trials in English that compare the effectiveness of one or more antiseptic agents as adjuncts to SRP with a follow-up of ≥6 months were included. A meta-analysis using the random-effects model was performed on the selected qualifying articles.


The search resulted in 12 articles that met the inclusion criteria. Based on the vehicle employed to deliver the antiseptic agent, studies were divided into adjunctive sustained-release antiseptics (gels, chips and varnish) and adjunctive irrigation with antiseptics. The meta-analysis demonstrated significant improvements in probing depth (PD) reduction (p = 0.001), clinical attachment level (CAL) gain (p = 0.001), and bleeding on probing (BOP) values (p = 0.001) following the adjunctive subgingival application of sustained-release antiseptics. Additional subgingival irrigation with antiseptics failed to show significant improvements in PD (p = 0.321), CAL (p = 0.7568), or BOP values (p = 0.3549) over SRP alone.


Adjunctive subgingivally delivered antiseptics with a sustained-release delivery have significant clinical benefits compared to SRP alone.

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