There have been numerous longitudinal periodontal studies that have compared the effects of two or more therapies on various clinical parameters. These studies are reviewed and their results are compiled. Both surgical and non-surgical therapy produced improvement in periodontal health. Surgical therapy tended to create greater short-term probing depth reduction than non-surgical therapy; however, the advantage was lost in some studies over time. In shallow probing depths, surgery produced a greater loss of probing attachment than non-surgical therapy. In deeper probing sites, the short-term results comparing mean probing attachment change following non-surgical and surgical therapy were mixed. In most studies, no long-term differences in mean probing attachment level change were present between non-surgical and surgical therapy. There were no differences between surgical and non-surgical therapy in any of the gingival inflammatory indices.
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