Journal of periodontology vol:67 issue:11 pages:1164-9
Periodontal probes have previously been shown to harbor several bacterial types or species after probing periodontally diseased pockets. This study aims to identify and quantify periodontopathogens that may adhere to a periodontal probe by culturing techniques. It also examines the probe's roughness on its capability to collect bacteria, comparing Merrit-B probes (with deep indentations) with TPS probes (with smooth surfaces). From the differential phase contrast microscopy findings it was seen that, while paper-points harbored nearly 50% motile rods or spirochetes, the periodontal probes were just at, or below, the 20% threshold level for pathogenicity (23.6% for the Merrit-B probe and 11.3% for the TPS probe). The cultural data showed that paper-points had significantly higher (P < 0.05) numbers of anaerobic bacteria than the 2 probe types, which still harbored up to 10(7) CFU. No significant differences could be detected between the probes. When specific periodontopathic species were considered, it was seen that for all species, even for Actinobacillus actinomycetemcomitans or Porphyromonas gingivalis, the detection frequency was comparable for the 3 sampling devices. However, the levels of Prevotella intermedia and Campylobacter rectus was significantly higher in samples from paper-points (P < 0.05), but still their numbers reached even 10(5) on the probes. Differences among the 2 probe types were again negligible. Periodontal probes harbor relatively high numbers of bacteria found in periodontal pockets and may be able to carry them over to other sites. Further studies are needed to determine if, and to what extent, transmission occurs during periodontal probing.