Clinical oral implants research vol:17 issue:1 pages:25-37
BACKGROUND: Periodontitis and peri-implantitis are linked to the presence of several key pathogens. The treatment of these infectious processes therefore involves the reduction/eradication of bacteria associated with periodontitis. METHODS: This prospective, split-mouth, single-blind study followed the colonization of 'pristine' sulci created in 42 partially edentulous patients during implant surgery (e.g. abutment connection). The hypothesis was that the composition of the maturing subgingival plaque in these 'fresh' peri-implant pockets would soon (within 2 weeks) be comparable to the subgingival microbiota of teeth with similar clinical parameters (reference sites), including the presence of bacteria associated with periodontitis. Per patient, four subgingival plaque samples were taken from shallow and medium pockets around implants (test sites), and teeth within the same quadrant (undisturbed microbiota as control sites), 1, 2, 4, 13, 26 and 78 weeks after abutment connection, respectively. The samples were analysed by either checkerboard DNA-DNA hybridization, or cultural techniques, or real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) for intra-subject comparisons (teeth vs. implant, for comparable probing depths). RESULTS: Checkerboard DNA-DNA hybridization and real-time PCR revealed a complex microbiota (including several pathogenic species) in the peri-implant pockets within 2 weeks after abutment connection. After 7 days, the detection frequency for most species (including the bacteria associated with periodontitis) was already nearly identical in samples from the fresh peri-implant pockets (5% and 20% of the microbiota belonging to red and orange complex, respectively) when compared with samples from the reference teeth. Afterwards (e.g. between weeks 2 and 13), the number of bacteria in peri-implant pockets only slightly increased (+/-0.1 log value), with minor changes in the relative proportions of bacteria associated with periodontitis (8% and 33% of the microbiota belonging to red and orange complex, respectively). Although small differences were seen between teeth and implants at week 2 with cultural techniques, a striking similarity in subgingival microbiota was found with this technique from month 3 on, with nearly identical detection frequencies for bacteria associated with periodontitis for both abutment types. CONCLUSIONS: This study indicates that the initial colonization of peri-implant pockets with bacteria associated with periodontitis occurs within 2 weeks.