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3 Antibiotics for Gum Disease:  Better Treatment, Low Risk

Antibiotic treatment for gum disease is one option that works well, is easy and painless.  Antibiotics are recommended for many gum problems and sometimes prescribed as a pre treatment before surgery.  But they are not without risks and shouldn't be taken too frequently.

Allergic reactions and antibiotic resistance are 2 very good reasons to avoid them unless absolutely necessary.   Maybe these warnings have made you afraid to take them. 

Thankfully antibiotics used to treat gum disease have come a long way.

Innovations have made it possible to benefit from antibiotics while eliminating the risks. 

We are now able to do more than prescribe the usual 7-10 day regimen that might cause the following problems:

  • Kills the "good" bacteria needed for healthy digestion
  • Allergic  reaction  
  • Antibiotic resistance 

With products available today we can avoid these risks and still treat your gum disease effectively.

New and Improved Antibiotics for Gum Disease

There are at least 2 antibiotic medications that can be directly and painlessly placed in the gum pocket allowing them to be used without systemic side effects.  They are placed precisely where you need them and they never hurt your stomach or kill any of the good bacteria like antibiotics taken orally.

Two of these products are Arestin and Atridox.

1. Arestin

Arestin is minocycline (a form of tetracycline)  powder that is placed between the tooth and gum in the gum pocket.  The clever design and use of microsperes allow this powder to adhere to the tooth and slowly release the antibiotic for up to three weeks.  It kills bacteria and gives the pocket a healing boost.  Arestin works very well for pockets that are 5-6mm and can be reapplied as needed.  Learn more about Arestin here.

2. Atridox

Atridox is tetracycline hyalite.  Like Arestin, Atridox is placed directly in the gum pocket.   Atridox is a gel that stays in the pocket and slowly releases the antibiotic.

Atridox vs Arestin

Both products work the same way but there are some important differences.  

Arestin is dispensed in individual units  and  usually costs $30-$50.  If you need more than a few pockets treated, it can get expensive. 

Atridox is dispensed in a syringe that contains enough of the product to treat the entire mouth.  The price varies but $150- $200 is typical.

Which is better?  I have used both and seen good results with both products. Because Atridox is more difficult to place in the pocket it may not be as reliable but is more affordable if you have more than a few gum pockets.  

If you need just a few areas treated, I would choose Arestin over Atridox.

3. Periostat

Another low risk antibiotic treatment is Periostat (doxycycline).  Though taken orally twice a day, Periostat is such a low dose (20mg) that the risk of side effects is extremely low.

Periostat is taken twice a day for 3-6 months.  Instead of killing bacteria, Periostat decreases the enzymes that destroy gum and bone tissue.  Because the dose is so low, it can be taken for an extended time.  Periostat works well to control chronic gum disease.

All of these safe and effective options are good for certain scenarios.  Ask your dentist which product is best for you.  

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