The term periodontitis indicates a variety of clinical manifestations of infectious disorders in which the supporting tissues of the teeth are attacked. The initiation and progression of periodontal disease are attributed to the presence of elevated levels of pathogenic bacteria within the gingival crevice. Approaches to periodontal treatment range from surgical to regenerative therapy and anti-infective chemotherapy. Anti-infective drug therapy should be rationally based on the composition of the pathogenic microbiota. It is also important to recognize that the periodontopathic plaque constitutes a bacterial biofilm infection that may render the resident microorganisms more resistant than the same organisms grown planktonically. Hyperbaric oxygen (HBO) has been successfully used in several medical applications. The therapeutic effect is related to elevated partial oxygen pressure in the tissues. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effects of HBO on a selected number of patients suffering from adult chronic periodontitis in comparison with surgical intervention (scaling and root planning, SRP), as well as the effects of a combination of both therapies on the evolution over time of the microflora of the periodontal pockets. Bacteria were detected either by culture or by a molecular method (PCR). Microbiological data indicate that the combination of HBO and SRP substantially reduced (by up to 99.9%) the gram-negative anaerobe loads of the subgingival microflora. The low values of pathogens persisted for at least two months after the therapy. HBO or SRP alone produced a temporarily more limited effect on periodontal anaerobes. Additional experimental confirmation of these results was provided by molecular detection of the main periodontopathogenic bacteria with a significant reduction in the number of dental sites which harboured them. It is also shown that HBO both alone and in combination with SRP reduced the Gingival Index value to zero and gingival health persisted for 3 months at least. Thus, in parallel with the loss of periodontopathogenic bacteria, a substantial improvement in oral health was observed. In conclusion, this study has shown that HBO may represent a useful aid, especially in combination with SRP, as far as non-surgical periodontal therapy is concerned.

Signoretto, Bianchi, Burlacchini, Canepari, , , , , (2007). Microbiological evaluation of the effects of hyperbaric oxygen on periodontal disease. The new microbiologica, 2007 Oct;30(4):431-7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18080679