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Issue: 01/2009 - J. Wiltfang - S.T. Becker - E. Behrens - I.N.G. Springer - R. Podschun - P.H. Warnke
Essential oils: antimicrobial effects and potential treatment options in dental implantology

Due to the steadily increasing numbers of dental implants placed, the number of peri-implant infections is also growing. To date, there is no standard and generally accepted regimen for treating peri-implant infections. The search for alternative treatment options is ongoing. This pilot study focuses on the antimicrobial effects of essential oils as their antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory effects have recently been highlighted in literature. The results may offer potential treatment options for peri-implant infections based on natural essential oils. Eucalyptus, tea tree, white thyme, lemon, lemongrass, clove bud oil and oil combinations were tested in the agar diffusion test against clinically relevant strains and multi-resistant nosocomial isolates. Ethanol, povidone iodine, chlorhexidine as well as olive and paraffin oil served as controls. The essential oils tested showed clear antimicrobial effects against staphylococci, streptococci and candida. In particular, the absolute impact on multi-resistant strains such as MRSA and Candida krusei should be stressed. The anti-inflammatory properties of essential oils may be advantageous in dental implantology compared to classic antiseptics. Essential oils can be produced naturally and cost-effectively. If the suspected antimicrobial effects can be confirmed against the dominant strains in peri-implant infections, essential oils may offer an alternative in the local treatment of these infections.

Keywords: Essential oils, antimicrobial, peri-implant infection, multi-resistant strains, MRSA, antiseptics

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