Local delivery of antimicrobials has been investigated as a possible method for controlling and treating periodontal disease. A number of antimicrobial agents have been studied both as adjunctive therapies with scaling and root planing and as stand-alone chemotherapies. More recent investigations have focussed on the delivery of antimicrobials in sustained-release formulations designed to maintain effective concentrations of drug within the periodontal pocket. This article provides an overview of the development of the use of locally-delivered metronidazole in periodontal therapy and the current state-of-the-art of the technique. It is concluded that treatment with local delivery of metronidazole seems to be as effective as scaling and root planing in untreated as well as in recall subjects. However, there are reasons to suggest that local delivery of metronidazole should not be used as a substitute for conventional treatment of periodontal disease, since side-effects of long-term use and repeated use are not known. The antibiotic regimen should preferably be used as an adjunct to surgical and non-surgical therapy.
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