Periodontal disease is a progressive disease of the structures (bone and gingival tissues) surrounding our teeth. It is believed that about 65 million americans have some form of periodontitis. Periodontitis is the advanced form of periodontal disease. Once the disease state reaches periodontitis it means there have been some form of permanent loss of bone or gingival tissues to the disease. In those 65 and over this number jumps to 70% of that population. These numbers are startling. Luckily, there has been extensive research into periodontal disease and new treatment modes have been developed. One such method is treating periodontal disease with Arestin.
What Is Arestin?
Arestin (minocycline hydrochloride) is an antibiotic that comes in the form of micrspheres. These microspheres are placed locally into areas of concern. Periodontal disease generally hits certain areas over others initially. This gives us a chance to localize treatment of periodontal disease with arestin.
Treating Periodontal Disease With Arestin
Periodontal disease if left untreated will develop deeper and deeper “periodontal pockets” around out teeth. The normal space between our teeth, gums and bone is approximately 3 mm. When periodontal disease begins to damage these areas these pockets can widen and deepen as bone is lost and gum tissues lose their connections to our teeth. As the periodontal disease develops and progresses it is not unheard of to have periodontal pocketing in the 6-8 mm range. That is a doubling over normal pocket size.
This allows food and bacteria to penetrate these areas and create even more damage to gingival tissues and bone. Once these support structures become damage they can cause our teeth to become loose and eventually lost them. The standard course of treatment for periodontitis is scaling and root planing (S&RP). This treatment is highly effective for treatment of periodontal disease.
-Periodontal scaling of teeth with instruments involves manually removing all the plaque, tartar, and food from on and around our teeth.
-Periodontal planing can smooth out rough areas on our teeth’s roots where bacteria and plaque can attach. Scaling and root planing has been our #1 treatment for periodontal disease for decades.
Where does treating periodontal disease with Arestin come in? Combining the use of Arestin with the traditional scaling and root planing gives dentists and periodontists a real chance to reduce the periodontal pocketing around our teeth. In routine scaling and root planing, depending on depth of pockets, it may be difficult to reach to the entire depths of those pockets. Everyone’s anatomy is different so some areas are easy to reach while others might be more difficult based on root structures and how the periodontal pockets form. None are uniform. Using microspheres of Arestin allows your dentist to reach the bottom of those pockets and destroy harmful bacteria before further destruction of tissues can occur.
Treating Periodontal Disease With Arestin Procedure
The following is what to expect if you are undergoing treatment of periodontal disease with Arestin.
–Diagnosis of Periodontal Disease. In its earliest form (Gingivitis) there is no damage to bone or gingival tissues and can be reversed thru professional cleaning and increased at home dental hygiene care. In periodontitis, destruction has begun. A simple professional cleaning is no longer as effective. Diagnosis of periodontal disease is achieved thru x-rays and use of a periodontal probe. This dental instrument allows your dentist or hygienist to measure around the teeth and see what areas might be affected by periodontal disease. A normal reading of 3 mm means tissues are healthy. Anything over that raises a red flag and leads to a diagnosis of periodontal disease.
-Treatment Plan To Fight Periodontal Disease. Your dentist will explain these results to you and discuss treatment necessary. The first line of defense is always a scaling and root planing (also called a deep cleaning). Your dentist may now offer Arestin in conjunction with this type of cleaning to give you a better chance of stopping this problem from developing further and also repairing tissues around our teeth.
-Treatment With Scaling And Root Planing.
-Arestin Application Following Scaling And Root Planing. The arestin is in the form of a microsphere. This allows the arestin to release the antibiotic gradually over time to fight the bacteria in the deepest depths of those periodontal pockets. It is able to target areas scaling and root planing instruments just cannot reach.
Is Arestin Effective? Yes! Studies have shown that is more effective in treating pocket reduction when paired with Scaling and Root Planing Vs S&RP alone. In fact clinical trials have shown significant pocket reductions in as little as 1-3 months and maintenance for at least 9 months. It has also shown significant reductions in our more difficult to treat patients. Those include the smoker’s, ones with a history of heart disease, and those over age 50. The chart below shows those statistics.
Is Arestin A Miracle Drug? Conclusion
Arestin is not a miracle drug. But it will help controlling a very difficult progressive disease. Periodontal disease is difficult to control because it relies on many factors. The biggest one is at home dental hygiene. Patients need to understand their dental care does not begin and end inside the walls of their dental office. Fighting periodontal disease is a daily battle. Periodontal disease treatment with Arestin can help reverse some of those issues but it will not be a cure for it.
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