Orthod Craniofac Res. 2021 May;24(2):251-260. doi: 10.1111/ocr.12427. Epub 2020 Oct 15.
OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the subgingival microbiological changes during the first six months of therapy with clear aligners (CAs) and fixed appliances (FAs). The null hypothesis was that there would be no microbiological differences between the two.
SETTING/SAMPLE: Two groups of patients to be treated, respectively, with CAs (14 patients; 9 females and 5 males; mean age 21 years ± 0.25) and FAs (13 patients; 8 females and 5 males; mean 14 years ± 0.75) were consecutively recruited.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: Subgingival microbiological samples were obtained at the right upper central incisor and right first molar at four different time points: before appliance fitting (T0), and at 1 month (T1), 3 months (T3) and 6 months (T6) thereafter. Total bacterial load (TBL) and counts of the bacteria Aggregatibacter actinomycetemcomitans, Porphyromonas gingivalis, Fusobacterium nucleatum, Campylobacter rectus, Treponema denticola and Tannerella forsythia were determined using real-time PCR.
RESULTS: Total bacterial load did not vary in the CA group, while a significant increase was detected after 3 and 6 months of treatment in the FA group. Unlike red complex species, C rectus and F nucleatum were often detected: levels remained stable in the CA group but increased progressively in the FA group.
CONCLUSION: The type of orthodontic appliance influences the subgingival microbiota. TBL increased in the FA group but not in the CA group, although the levels of the individual periodontal pathogenic bacteria species did not significantly increase during the observation period.