August 13, 2014
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In the past one of the approaches to treating gum disease was to include a prescription for an antibiotic for the patient to take during the course of their dental treatment. This systemic approach to treating the disease was affective but it took time for the antibiotic to reach and treat the affected area. Today we use a more straight forward approach called Arestin. Arestin is the same class of antibiotic but the administration is different. With Arestin the antibiotic is placed right at the site of the infection inside the periodontal pocket.

When you have gum disease, the space between the tooth and the gum, called the sulcus, increases in depth. This deeper gum area is called a pocket. The problem with the pocket being deeper then it should be is as it increases in depth it becomes impossible to clean out the area thorougly. As the pocket depth increases, there is a risk of the ligament holding the tooth to the gum detaching. This process will result in the tooth becoming loose and eventually being lost!

Treating early gum disease starts with a procedure called scaling and root planing (SRP). SRP is the process by which we remove the bacteria, plaque and tartar from below the gumline. Because bacteria is the cause of gum disease, placing an antibiotic into the pocket at the time of SRP or at the follow up visit, will help to improve the success of the treatment. Arestin contains microspheres or tiny particles that stick in the pocket to destroy the bacteria.

It is important to begin and maintain a good oral hygiene routine that includes brushing a minimum of twice a day and once daily flossing. You may also be prescribed a prescription fluoride toothpaste and a prescription antimicrobial mouth rinse. Arestin will continue to kill bacteria for 28 days after it is administered but long term success is up to you. Be sure to follow all of your hygienists recommendations and visit our office regularly!