Localized Antimicrobial Agents: How You Can Get The Most Out Of Your Gum Therapy Treatment


If your doctor or hygienist suggested gum therapy to treat your gum infection, they may have also recommended a supplemental antibiotic treatment called “Arestin” to help. But why? Studies have shown that gum therapy treatment coupled with a localized antibiotic treatment has been able to reduce the size of the “pocket” between your tooth and gum up to twice as effectively than gum therapy alone, making the pair a dynamic duo when fighting disease. Here are some questions people often have regarding local antibiotic treatment: 


  • What is Arestin exactly? Arestin is a locally administered time-released antibiotic made of minocycline hydrochloride (a member of the tetracycline family). It looks like a teeny-tiny yellow micro-sphere that we place directly in the infected “pocket” between your gums and your teeth. 
  • How does it work? Once placed, Arestin begins to release an antibiotic slowly. It works to kill any harmful bacteria hiding deep in your gum “pockets” even after gum therapy is complete. This bacteria has begun to damage gum tissues and bone resulting in larger “pockets” around the teeth. Once the bacteria is killed off, your body can begin healing and re-attaching gum tissue to the walls of the teeth, thus reducing pocket depth and bleeding. 
  • Why might gum therapy alone not be enough to heal my infection? Gum disease can range in severity, depending on your condition and oral health habits. You might be infected with a more aggressive bacteria or be farther along in the disease process. In many of these cases, adding a supplemental antibiotic like Arestin to your treatment can increase the overall healing rate.
  • Does my insurance help with the cost? Maybe! Arestin is newer on the market, so not all insurances recognize it. Dental insurances that do help with the cost typically have very strict guidelines, so please speak with your treatment coordinator to see how your plan works.
  • Do other health issues and lifestyle choices contribute to the effectiveness?  Yes, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and tobacco use can all contribute to gum disease. Arestin may be more frequently recommended for people who have one of these conditions or who smoke. 
  • How often do I need to have it placed?  Since gum disease is a chronic disease, health issues/lifestyle contribute to how frequently placing Arestin will help. We’ll determine how often the antibiotic is needed by regularly measuring the depth of your gum pockets and evaluating the health of your tissue. That means keeping up with your recall appointments will be crucial to overall maintenance of the disease.  
  • Does it hurt? Not at all! Since Arestin is a fine powder material, it is carefully placed with special tool for precision to the infected area. Many people say they can’t feel a thing when their hygienist places it under their gum, and it takes no time at all!


The information contained in this post should NOT be used as a substitute for the advice of an appropriately licensed health care provider. The information provided here is for informational purposes only. Although we attempt to provide accurate and up-to-date information, no guarantee is made to that effect. Always seek the advice of a qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. The information on this site is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

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