Periodontal disease is a progressive condition which leads to severe inflammation and tooth loss if left untreated. Antibiotic treatments can be used in combination with scaling and root planing or surgery to help reduce bacteria before and/or after many common periodontal procedures.
Antibiotic treatments come in several different types, including oral forms and topical gels which are applied directly into the gum pockets. Research has shown that in the case of acute periodontal infection, refractory periodontal disease, prepubertal periodontal disease and juvenile periodontal disease, oral antibiotic treatments have been incredibly effective. Topical gels do not have a similar success rate.
Topical Gels and Strips
The biggest advantage of the direct delivery of antibiotics to the surfaces of the gums is that the whole body is not affected. Topical gels and direct delivery methods tend to be preferred over their oral counterparts but are ineffective when used after scaling and root planing procedures. Here are some of the most commonly used direct delivery antibiotics:
Atridox® – This doxycycline gel conforms to the contours of gum surfaces and solidifies over them. Over several days, this gel gradually releases the antibiotic medication and then is no longer present. This is the reason for its limited effect.
PerioChip® – This chip is placed into the actual gum pocket after root planing procedure. PerioChip® slowly releases Chlorhexidine, a powerful antibacterial antiseptic. PerioChip® requires longer time to be effective than the product offers.
Actisite® – This thin strip is similar to dental floss and contains tetracycline hydrochloride. The thread is place temporarily directly between the tooth and gum to kill bacteria and reduce the depth of gum pockets. Several threads are sometimes placed for 10 days to enhance the antibiotic effect. Unfortunately there is little therapeutic result from this product.
Arestin® – This Minocycline antibiotic comes in mini capsules which are delivered into the gums after scaling and root planing. Limited results can be expected from this treatment.
The positive aspect of these products is that income producing companies have become aware of the significance of periodontal issues and that patients are willing to invest in solutions. Hopefully, further research will continue to be conducted and enhanced products introduced after extensive research has produced clinical results.
If you have any questions about periodontal disease or antibiotic treatments, please ask your Periodontist.