More than 75 percent of Americans over the age of 35 suffer from periodontal disease, a bacterial infection of the gums, teeth, and bone that surrounds the teeth. As the disease progresses, your immune system produces white blood cells to fight the infection. Unfortunately, the white blood cells release enzymes that destroy the soft tissue and bone that hold your teeth in place, and as a result, your teeth may become loose. If left untreated, this destruction of supporting bone will eventually lead to tooth loss.

Fortunately, we now have an effective treatment called PerioChip that we apply directly to the infected area. PerioChip fights periodontal disease and its tissue-destroying effects by reducing the number of harmful bacteria in your gums.

A PerioChip is a biodegradable gelatin chip that's about the size of a baby's fingernail. It contains the antiseptic chlorhexidine, a medication that's placed directly on the infected gum tissue. As the chip disintegrates, it releases the medication into the periodontal pocket, first at a high concentration, then at a controlled rate for the duration of the treatment. The antiseptic greatly reduces the number of bacteria in the infected pocket and speeds the healing process. Unlike antibiotics, PerioChip does not produce bacterial resistance; it works by destroying the bacteria's cell walls.

Depending on your needs, we can place up to 8 PerioChips in a single visit. We typically recommend PerioChip treatment after we perform a procedure called scaling and root planing, and then again about every 3 to 6 months for as long as periodontal pockets are 5 millimeters deep or more. Unlike some other treatments that contain antibiotics, PerioChip can be administered every 3 months for up to 24 months.

PerioChip is not a cure for periodontal disease and cannot replace supportive bone that may have been lost if the disease was left untreated. You'll still need to be meticulous about your daily oral hygiene and come to see us every 3 to 4 months for exams and professional cleanings. However, when it's used as part of your comprehensive periodontal therapy, PerioChip can help prevent further destruction of bone and connective tissue.