Arestin: Fighting Against Periodontal Disease

There is another tool available in the battle against periodontal disease.  Periodontal diseases are mainly the result of infections and inflammation of the gums and bone that surround and support the teeth. In its early stage, called gingivitis, the gums can become swollen, tender and red. Other symptoms include:

  • Bleeding while brushing, flossing, or eating hard foods
  • Persistent bad breath or a bad taste in your mouth.
  • Gums that are receding or pulling away from your teeth.
  • Changes in your bite or pain when chewing.

Periodontitis affects more than 47% of adults over age 30 in the U.S. That number jumps to around 70% for adults 65 years and over.

Periodontitis is common but fairly preventable. The cause is usually poor oral hygiene. Bacteria cling to plaque and tartar on your teeth surfaces. If you don’t clean your teeth as well or as often as you should, bacteria travel down beneath your gum line, where your toothbrush and floss can’t reach. These harmful bacteria erode the tissues that support your teeth, leading to infection, bone loss and tooth loss.  Regular brushing and flossing can help prevent periodontitis.  It’s a risk factor for heart and lung diseases.

Treatment includes professionally cleaning the pockets around teeth to prevent damage to surrounding bone. Advanced cases may require surgery.

Nonsurgical options often work well for people with mild to moderate periodontitis.  These treatments include:

  • Antibiotics: Your dentist may prescribe oral antibiotics to fight infection. Or they may place a topical antibiotic underneath your gums to target the affected area.
  • Scaling and root planing: Also known as a deep dental cleaning, scaling and root planing are similar to a routine cleaning. The difference is that you’ll receive local anesthesia to numb your gums. This allows your dentist or hygienist to sweep away bacteria deep beneath your gum line. They’ll also smooth your teeth roots to deter further plaque and bacteria from accumulating. Scaling and root planing is often done in two or more visits at your dentist or periodontist’s office. It’s important that you see your periodontist a month after this cleaning to check your gums and see how well the treatment worked.
  • ARESTIN® (minocycline HCl) Microspheres, 1 mg. is used in combination with scaling and root planing (SRP) procedures to treat patients with adult periodontitis (gum disease).

Arestin is a powder antibiotic that can reach further into the pocket than the scaling and root planing instruments are able, applying the antibiotic directly to the bacteria around the tooth and gum.  It is a localized slow-release antibiotic that effectively kills the bacteria that causes periodontal disease. Your dental hygienist can easily apply Arestin underneath the gum tissue during periodontal treatment or routine maintenance appointments. The saying, “The issues are in the tissues” is true! The harmful bacteria which cause gum disease can remain, completely absorbed within the gum tissue even after your initial scaling & root planing (SRP), also called “deep scaling”. That’s right, that means without the placement of a local antibiotic like Arestin, there is effectively no way for your hygienist to remove 100% of the problematic bacteria that is causing the infection. However, when Arestin is placed at the time of scaling and root planing, infected periodontal pockets around the tooth are significantly reduced & long-term prognosis of the teeth are improved. Remember, Arestin is a slow-release antibiotic which means after it is placed it will continue working to fight bacteria.

After this medication is placed in your tooth pocket(s), do not touch any treated areas for 7 days. Avoid using treated teeth to chew, and do not eat hard, crunchy, or chewy foods for 7 days. Do not floss or clean between teeth treated with the medicine for 10 days after treatment. Follow your dentist’s directions carefully.

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