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    Gum Disease Therapy


    What is Periodontal Disease?

    Periodontal disease (or gum disease) is a bacterial infection that affects all surrounding structures of our teeth such as our gums, ligaments and bone. Swollen and bleeding gums (gingivitis) are of the early stages and warning signs of periodontal disease also referred to as periodontitis. If swelling and bleeding are not controlled, the bacteria that is causing the swelling and bleeding will rapidly grow and multiply and eventually spread to surrounding tissues (gums and ligaments) of our teeth and into the jawbone (alveolar bone). Once the bacterial infection has spread into these surrounding tissues, a more advanced symptom will include an increase of periodontal pockets, a gap/pocket that is created between the gums and teeth. This happens when bleeding and swelling are not controlled right away. The longer the bacteria have to spread due to swelling and bleeding, the deeper the pockets can become. When a significantly deep pocket between the gums and teeth is present, bacteria can easily get in and continue the process of periodontitis, making it more severe. Periodontitis is a very serious bacterial infection that cannot be self-diagnosed. This can only be diagnosed by your dentist or your dental hygienist. When visiting a dental professional, special dental tools are used to measure the depth of the periodontal pockets. The periodontal pockets are a result of not maintaining the initial bleeding and swelling.

    If this bacterial infection spreads from the tissues and pockets and into the alveolar bone, the bone will begin to eat itself away which leads to bone loss. Bone loss can be diagnosed by an x-ray.  As a result of severe bone loss, your teeth will become loose making it hard to chew and speak. Once we have reached the point of severe bone loss, the tooth will need to be extracted (pulled out) by the dentist and treated.



    What Causes Periodontal Disease?

    Periodontal disease is caused by a build-up of biofilm (natural growth of bacteria on tooth surfaces) that develop above and below the gum line. Biofilm is a buildup of dental plaque that, if brushed and flossed fast enough, can be decreased with regular tooth brushing and good daily oral hygiene. Biofilm is natural and develop just hours after brushing, which is why it is important to brush 2-3 times a day. The bacteria that cause periodontal disease live inside the biofilm that sit on your teeth throughout the day.

    Another factor that can cause periodontal disease are those with high levels of stress or even patients taking certain medications. These are less common than the initiating factor of brushing and flossing. If you have been diagnosed with periodontal disease, consider an oral health probiotic.


    Who can get periodontal disease?

    recent CDC (centers for disease control and prevention) report1 provides the following data related to the prevalence of periodontitis in the U.S.:

    • 2% of adults aged 30 years and older have some form of periodontal disease.
    • Periodontal disease increases with age, 70.1% of adults 65 years and older have periodontal disease.

    1Eke PI, Thornton-Evans G, Dye BA, Genco R. Advances in Surveillance of Periodontitis: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Periodontal Disease Surveillance Project. J Periodontol 11 February 2012:

    The longer plaque and tartar remain on teeth, the more harmful the bacteria become therefore anyone is susceptible to periodontal disease. Smokers, diabetics, and patients with other illnesses are also at a higher risk of periodontal disease. While it is more likely to occur in adults over the age of 30, young adults are likely to develop gingivitis (a more mild form of periodontal disease) if their oral hygiene is not up to par. It is recommended to see your dental hygienist every 6 months if you are considered a healthy patient and more frequently if you have gum disease. By having your teeth cleaned by a dental professional on a regular basis, the chances of developing the periodontal disease are lowered.

    Can I Prevent Periodontal Disease?

    You can prevent periodontal disease but you cannot cure periodontal disease once you have it. Upon diagnoses by your dental hygienist and dentist, their main treatment goal will be to control the bacterial infection of periodontal disease and prevent it from getting worse.  In controlling the infection, the dentist will recommend a treatment plan that suits your needs such as adding professional dental cleanings more frequently throughout the year as well as prescribing Arestin, a locally administered antibiotic.


    For healthier gums and teeth



    About ARESTIN

    The dentist and dental hygienist are experts at cleaning teeth above and below the gum line. Using their special dental tools, they can reach areas of our teeth that we physically cannot with our toothbrush or mouthwash. Yet, even dental professionals have limitations within their dental cleanings.


    Arestin is an antibiotic that is placed at the site of active infection. Arestin is a locally administered antibiotic (LAA) composed of minocycline microspheres, 1mg. This medication is used in combination with professional dental cleanings by your dentist or dental hygienist to treat chronic periodontal disease in adults.  Arestin is placed by a dental professional at the time of the deep cleaning appointment if the dentist or dental hygienist feel it is needed. Arestin will help by targeting and fighting off the specific bacteria that causes the gums to be inflamed and bleed. Arestin is a powder-based medication that is placed by a dental professional directly to the specific area of infection.  Without treating the infected site with adjunctive therapy such as Arestin, bacteria will to continue to live, grow and multiply which progresses to a much worse phase that may be untreatable by your regular dental practitioner. Ask your dental professional about Arestin.