One-third of the American population is affected by periodontal disease, a chronic bacterial infection of the gums, teeth, and bone that surrounds the teeth. Periodontal disease occurs when bacteria build up on your teeth and gums, causing your gums to become red and swollen.

Left untreated, this inflammation eventually results in damage to the ligaments and bone that hold your teeth in place. This damage causes pockets to form around your teeth. As the disease progresses and the pockets deepen, your teeth can become loose and fall out. Periodontal disease may also exacerbate other serious health problems, such as cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, and diabetes.

Fortunately, we now have a new, effective treatment that helps us control periodontal disease and its destructive effects. It's called Arestin, and it's used in conjunction with scaling and root planing to reduce the number of harmful bacteria in your periodontal pockets and restore the area to health.

Arestin is an antibiotic in powder form. We painlessly insert the powder into your periodontal pockets, where it combines with moisture in your mouth and adheres immediately to the infected gum tissue. The individual powder particles, called microspheres, release a controlled, steady flow of the active ingredient minocycline, a potent antibiotic. This sustained-release process allows Arestin to fight your periodontal infection for at least 21 days.

When used together with scaling and root planing, Arestin significantly reduces the depth of the infected pockets and helps to prevent the progression of periodontal disease. Arestin has also been shown to be effective even in the most difficult-to-treat cases of periodontal disease, such as those experienced by smokers or patients with cardiovascular disease. However, Arestin's active ingredient is in the tetracycline family of antibiotics, so we won't use it to treat your infection if you are allergic to tetracycline, or if you're pregnant or nursing.

Periodontal disease is chronic, which means it can persist for a long time and may never be cured. It's vital that we treat it aggressively to keep it under control. Arestin is an important part of your overall periodontal therapy program, which we have designed to prevent further destruction of bone and connective tissue, and to restore health to your gums.