A Brief Guide to Oral Antimicrobial Therapy

In some cases, your dentist may feel that it is necessary to take additional steps in order to kill of the bacteria that cause gum disease. For example, you may be asked to use antimicrobial washes, or antiseptics as part of your oral hygiene procedures. Your dentist may also want to perform specific procedures that will make use of antibiotics. Among other things, your dentist amy want to put antibiotics under the gums during root planing and scaling procedures.

Why Procedure is Used

Since gum disease is caused by bacteria, your dentist or periodontist may feel that using antibiotics is the best way to arrest certain instances of gum disease. Even though antibiotics can get rid of bacteria, dentists are often concerned about the rapidly expanding population of “superbugs” or antibiotic resistant pathogens especially on wearing dentures. As a result, your dentist will do as many things as possible in order to treat various forms of gum disease without using antibiotics.

While antibiotics are often use for short term conditions, such as abscesses, they can be used for other conditions. This includes a rare, but aggressive form of periodontitis known as NUG (necrotizing ulcerative gingivitis). As may be expected, if your periodontitis is progressing too quickly, or it is not responding to other types of treatment, your dentist will want to make use of certain antibiotic therapies. In addition, if you have certain health conditions, or have a suppressed immune system, antimicrobial therapy may be the best option for available. That said, periodontists still make use of a combined approach that may also include surgery.

Patient Concerns to be Addressed

In most cases, your dentist will also do a scaling and root planing in order to remove tartar and plaque from below the gum line. This procedure will also help smooth out any irregularities in root surfaces; which will help reduce the number of places where plaque can accumulate. While scaling, root planing, and antibiotic installation can be uncomfortable, it is most often carried out after you receive a local anaesthesia to numb the area.

How Is Procedure Performed?

Depending on the type of antibiotic, you may need to take it orally for 7 - 10 days. In some cases, antimicrobial therapy can also be applied directly to your teeth. Among other things, your dentist may apply a gel that contains doxycycline to the area under your gums. Once the antibiotic is in place, the dentist will seal the area off with a periodontal pack. This dressing will be removed within 10 days.

Your dentist may also want to place a chlorhexedine chip under the gums. Typically, this chip will be gone in 7 to 10 days. Finally, your dentist can apply minocycline powder under the gums. This powder will remain under your gums for about three weeks.

Post-Operative Concerns

When you are taking antibiotics by mouth, it is improtant to take them exactly as directed. If you do not follow these directions, the medication may not be able to kill off all the bacteria that are damaging your oral health. You should also brush twice a day, and floss at least once per day.

In cases, you will be able to feel gels, powders, and chips that have been placed under your gums. This should not be an especially uncomfortable feeling. Typically, you will need to avoid flossing in order to ensure you do not dislodge the medicine. Once you are done with treatment, you can brush and floss like normal again.

Regardless of the antibiotic therapy that you receive, your dentist will want to see you again in 2 - 3 months. Depending on whether or not your condition responded to the antibiotics, you may need to have other procedures. For example, you may need to make use of a different antibiotic, or have periodontal surgery. Unfortunately, it may take several different antibiotic trials before your gum disease is cured.

You will always need to have your oral health reviewed on a regular basis, as well as ensure that oral hygiene procedures are effective. Your teeth will also need to be professionally cleaned on a regular basis. It will also be of benefit to have X-rays done every few years.

Perils of Disease

For the most part, the only risk you may suffer with antibiotic therapy is an allergic reaction. Therefore, if you already know that you are allergic to certain antibiotics, it is important to let your doctor know. In addition, if you wind up with hives, upset stomach, or a rash, you should stop taking the antibiotic and inform your dentist. Depending on the situation, you may need to use a different medication.