Periodontal disease is a progressive condition which leads to severe gum inflammation and tooth loss if left untreated. Antibiotic treatments can be used in combination with scaling and root planning, curettage, surgery or as a stand-alone treatment 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, antibiotic treatments have been incredibly effective.
Antibiotics can be prescribed at a low dose for longer term use, or as a short term medication to deter bacteria from re-colonizing.
Oral antibiotics tend to affect the whole body and are less commonly prescribed than topical gel. Here are some specific details about several different types of oral antibiotics:
Tetracycline antibiotics – Antibiotics which include tetracycline hydrochloride, doxycycline, and minocycline are the primary drugs used in periodontal treatment. They have antibacterial properties, reduce inflammation and block collagenase (a protein which destroys the connective tissue).
Macrolide antibiotics – This group of antibiotics has proven effective at reducing inflammation and can also reduce bacterial growth associated with periodontitis.
Metronidazole – This antibiotic is generally used in combination with amoxicillin or tetracycline to combat inflammation and bacterial growth in severe or chronic periodontitis.
Topical Gels and Strips
Topical gels and strips of antibiotics are placed directly under the gum tissue of affected teeth. Advantages of the direct delivery of antibiotics to the gum surfaces are that a higher concentration of antibiotic is delivered to the problem site and the whole body is not affected. Topical gels and direct delivery methods tend to be preferred over their oral counterparts and are extremely effective when used after scaling and root planing procedures.
- Arestin® – This minocycline antibiotic comes in slow release mini capsules which are delivered into the gums after scaling and root planing.
Noticeable periodontal improvements are usually seen after systemic or oral antibiotic treatment. Your periodontist or dentist will incorporate and recommend the necessary antibiotic treatments as necessary for the healing of your periodontal condition.
If you have any questions about periodontal disease or antibiotic treatments, please ask us.