This study evaluated whether periodontal repair following reconstructive surgery may be compromised by saliva contamination of the root surfaces during the surgical procedure. Circumferential periodontal defects, 5 to 6 mm in vertical dimension, were surgically created in the mandibular premolars in 9 beagle dogs and immediately treated. The denuded root surfaces in left and right jaw quadrants in 4 dogs were treated with either filter sterilized saliva or saline, while in the remaining 5 dogs the root surfaces were treated with unfiltered saliva or saline. The wounds were closed and allowed to heal for 4 weeks. The dogs were sacrificed and tissue blocks prepared for histometric analysis. Results showed no difference between teeth treated with filtered or unfiltered saliva and the saline treated controls. Connective tissue repair to the root surfaces exceeded 70% of the defect height in all experimental groups. Regeneration of cementum and alveolar bone was limited and did not exceed 30% of the defect height. The results indicate that contamination of the root surface by saliva during the surgical procedure does not necessarily compromise connective tissue repair to the root surface.
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