What is Arestin and what does it do to reduce my gum infection?
Arestin is a tetracycline based antibiotic that can be placed under the gum where disease and infection have caused damage to the bone, ligaments, and the supporting structures of the tooth. Arestin is unique in that it is made of microspheres and the antibiotic is only absorbed locally, right in the periodontal pocket where you need it! It doesn't go out into your bloodstream like regular antibiotics do. Arestin sterilizes the pocket temporarily (21 days), which allows the body to heal itself and reduce inflammation. It is used in conjunction with Root Planing and Scaling (also called a deep cleaning), as an extra punch in the fight against gum disease. See self assessment exam below
At Designing Smiles Cosmetic and Family Dentistry, we use Arestin when the pocket is 5-6 mm or greater, either at the time of root planing and scaling or three months after therapy, at your recall periodontal maintenance visit. Most people will see a reduction in the depth of the periodontal pocket when used. With gum disease, you can never regain the bone that has been lost to disease, but with regular visits to your hygienist, along with the Arestin, brushing, flossing, the use of an electric toothbrush, and antibacterial rinses, we can maintain your teeth as long as possible. There are other factors that come into play, such as your immune system response, your oral hygiene home care, disease, smoking and medication use. Please feel free to discuss your risk factors with Dr. Angela Hilton-Foley at your next check up.
Self Assessment from the Arestin Website: Download &Print
 Do you smoke?
 Is your diet low in important nutrients?
 Are you pregnant?
 Do you have diabetes or heart disease?
 Do you take medication-heart medication, anti-depressant or oral contraceptives?
 Do you grind or clench your teeth?
 Do any of your family members have gum disease?
 Do you have bad breath?
 Are your gums swollen or red?
 Do your gums bleed when you brush or floss?
 Are your gums receding or pulling away from your teeth?
 Are you under a great deal of stress?
 Do you have teeth that appear to be loosening?
 Do your teeth appear longer than they used to be?
 Have you noticed a change in the way your teeth fit together?
 Do your teeth seem to be flaring out or creating spaces between them?
 Have you recently lost any teeth?
 Have you noticed a bad taste in your mouth or bad breath?
 Have you noticed a lot of calculus, tartar to plaque on your teeth?
 Has it been a long time since your last cleaning with your dentist?
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Q. What is Arestin?
A. Arestin is an antibiotic powder that is used to treat infections in the pocket between the gum and tooth. It stays in the pocket for 21 days, sterilizing the gum, which allows the body to heal the area. It is used when the pocket 5 mm or greater.
Q. When is Arestin placed in my mouth?
A. Arestin antibiotic is usually placed at the time of root planing and scaling, or at the periodontal maintenance visit, usually at 3 months. The tooth is scaled to ensure that there is no tartar, plaque or rough surfaces, and the powdered antibiotic is placed in the deepest area of the pocket. The process is quick and easy, and it isn't uncomfortable.
Q. What is periodontal disease ?
A. Periodontal disease is the most common cause of tooth loss, effecting more than 3 out of 4 people! It's the chronic bacterial infection that can lead to damage of the gums, tissue, and bone around your teeth, if left untreated. The destruction of the tissue and bone around the tooth forms pockets, which can be so deep that your tooth brush can't clean them away. Even floss cannot always get to the area.
Q. I have heard that there is a link between periodontal disease and heart disease, stroke, low birth weight babies, and diabetes. Is that true?
A. Yes! It is not known, which came first, the gum disease or the disease throughout the body, but irregardless, it is really important to take good care of your gums to help control diabetes, heart disease, pregnancy complications, and stroke. The disease state causes inflammation throughout the body which is an attempt to fight off the foreign bacteria. Bacteria have a protein on their outer surface which our body recognizes as foreign invader. Our body tries to fight off the invader, resulting in inflammation. It is important to know that on a daily basis, good oral hygiene is more important than just keeping your teeth clean, it can help you stay healthy throughout your body!
Q. Are there any side effects?
A. Since Arestin affects on the local tissue, and does not spread throughout the mouth, there are very few side effects. You should not floss the area for at least a week, but you can brush the tooth the next day following placement.
Q. Are there any people who should not have Arestin placed?
A. Pregnant or nursing mothers should not have Arestin placed while pregnant or nursing. Anyone with known sensitivity or allergies to tetracycline should avoid using Arestin.
Angela Hilton-Foley, DMD, FICOI