Antibiotic Treatment for Periodontal Disease

Antibiotics are designed to kill bacteria, preserve gum tissue and prevent tooth loss

Periodontal disease has its roots in infections of the gum tissue caused by bacteria on the surface of your teeth. If left untreated, it can cause tissue loss as well as tooth loss. However, like many types of infection, periodontal disease can be effectively treated with antibiotics.

Whether used in combination with deep dental cleaning treatments or procedures like oral surgery, or used alone, antibiotics have been shown to relieve a variety of conditions, including:

  • Acute periodontal infection
  • Refractory periodontal disease
  • Pediatric periodontal disease
  • Post-pubescent periodontal disease

Dental antibiotics can be administered in pill form or as a topical gel applied directly into the gum pockets. A prescription may include a low concentration over a long period, or as a strong dose for short-term treatment that deters bacteria recolonization.

Oral antibiotics can reduce inflammation and kill bacteria

While oral antibiotics can be an effective way to treat periodontal disease, they have a tendency to affect the whole body, since they are ingested. Thus, they are less commonly prescribed than topical antibiotic ointment. Oral antibiotics for dental infection include:

  • Tetracycline: This family of drugs includes tetracycline hydrochloride, doxycycline and minocycline. They are designed to sooth inflammation and block a protein known as collagenase, which destroys connective tissues that keep teeth rooted in the mouth.
  • Macrolide: This antibiotic group is strong for reducing inflammation and the growth of periodontitis-causing bacteria.
  • Metronidazole: This type of antibiotic is usually paired with amoxicillin or tetracycline, and is designed to combat severe or chronic oral infections by reducing inflammation and bacterial proliferation.
Topical antibiotics effectively target the infected area

Unlike oral antibiotics, topical treatments deliver relief directly to the affected gum tissue. They can be especially effective when used after deep cleaning procedures like root planing and scaling. Topical antibiotic options come in gel, chip and strip form, and include:

  • Atridox®: This gel conforms to the shape of gum tissue and solidifies, gradually releasing its doxycycline antibiotic medication.
  • PerioChip®: This chip is placed directly into the pockets in gum tissue between the teeth where bacterial colonies grow. A powerful antibacterial, antiseptic chemical called chlorhexidine is slowly released, attacking the infection and reducing pocket depth in many cases of periodontal infection.
  • Actisite®: This thin strip contains tetracycline hydrochloride and resembles dental floss. It is designed to reduce bacteria and pocket depth. The strip is placed between a tooth and infected gum tissue for about 10 days; sometimes multiple threads are placed throughout the mouth.
  • Elyzol®: This unique antibiotic treatment comes in gel and strip form. Equipped with metronidazole, it is able to eliminate both bacteria and parasites.
  • Arestin®: Delivered into the gums after scaling and root planing, this minocycline antibiotic comes in the form of mini-capsules.

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