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Mary Ann Hanlon, DDS, MS
Practice Limited to Periodontics

Antibiotic Treatment

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, 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 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 can be highly effective.

Oral Antibiotics

When treating periodontal infections, antibiotics can also be administered orally.  Some of the types most frequently used are described below: 

  • Tetracycline antibiotics – Tetracycline hydrochloride, doxycycline and minocycline are often used topically and systemically.  They not only exhibit antibacterial properties, but also 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

An advantage of delivering antibiotics directly to the gums is that the effects on the rest of the body are minimized.  Topical gels and direct delivery methods are extremely effective when used in conjunction with 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 the root surfaces underneath the gums.  Over several days, this gel gradually releases the antibiotic medication.

  • PerioChip® – This chip is placed into the gum pocket after root planing procedures. PerioChip® slowly releases chlorhexidine, a powerful antibacterial agent. 
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  • Arestin® – Minocycline microspheres are delivered into the gums after scaling and root planing.

Your periodontist or dentist will 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 your periodontist.

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