What is Periodontal Disease?

Periodontal disease (or gum disease) is a bacterial infection that affects all surrounding structures of our teeth such as our gums, ligaments and bone. Swollen and bleeding gums (gingivitis) are of the early stages and warning signs of periodontal disease also referred to as periodontitis. If swelling and bleeding are not controlled, the bacteria that is causing the swelling and bleeding will rapidly grow and multiply and eventually spread to surrounding tissues (gums and ligaments) of our teeth and into the jawbone (alveolar bone). Once the bacterial infection has spread into these surrounding tissues, a more advance symptom will include an increase of periodontal pockets, a gap/pocket that is created between the gums and teeth. This happens when bleeding and swelling are not controlled right away. The longer the bacteria have to spread due to swelling and bleeding, the deeper the pockets can become. When a significantly deep pocket between the gums and teeth is present, bacteria can easily get in and continue the process of periodontitis, making it more severe. Periodontitis is a very serious bacterial infection that cannot be self-diagnosed. This can only be diagnosed by your dentist or your dental hygienist. When visiting a dental professional, special dental tools are used to measure the depth of the periodontal pockets. The periodontal pockets are a result of not maintaining the initial bleeding and swelling.

If this bacterial infection spreads from the tissues and pockets and into the alveolar bone, the bone will begin to eat itself away which leads to bone loss. Bone loss can be diagnosed by an x-ray.  As a result of severe bone loss, your teeth will become loose making it hard to chew and speak. Once we have reached the point of severe bone loss, the tooth will need to be extracted (pulled out) by the dentist and treated.


What Causes Periodontal Disease?

Periodontal disease is caused by a build-up of biofilm (natural growth of bacteria on tooth surfaces) that develop above and below the gum line. Biofilm is a buildup of dental plaque that, if brushed and flossed fast enough, can be decreased with regular tooth brushing and good daily oral hygiene. Biofilm is natural and develop just hours after brushing, which is why it is important to brush 2-3 times a day. The bacteria that cause periodontal disease live inside the biofilm that sit on your teeth throughout the day.

Another factor that can cause periodontal disease are those with high levels of stress or even patients taking certain medications. These are less common than the initiating factor of brushing and flossing. If you have been diagnosed with periodontal disease, consider an oral health probiotic.

Who can get periodontal disease?

A recent CDC (centers for disease control and prevention) report1 provides the following data related to prevalence of periodontitis in the U.S.:

  • 2% of adults aged 30 years and older have some form of periodontal disease.
  • Periodontal disease increases with age, 70.1% of adults 65 years and older have periodontal disease.

1Eke PI, Thornton-Evans G, Dye BA, Genco R. Advances in Surveillance of Periodontitis: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Periodontal Disease Surveillance Project. J Periodontol 11 February 2012:

The longer plaque and tartar remain on teeth, the more harmful the bacteria become therefore anyone is susceptible to periodontal disease. Smokers, diabetics, and patients with other illnesses are also at a higher risk of periodontal disease. While it is more likely to occur in adults over the age of 30, young adults are likely to develop gingivitis (a more mild form of periodontal disease) if their oral hygiene is not up to par. It is recommended to see your dental hygienist every 6 months if you are considered a healthy patient and more frequently if you have gum disease. By having your teeth cleaned by a dental professional on a regular basis, the chances of developing periodontal disease are lowered.

Can I Prevent Periodontal Disease?

You can prevent periodontal disease but you cannot cure periodontal disease once you have it. Upon diagnoses by your dental hygienist and dentist, their main treatment goal will be to control the bacterial infection of periodontal disease and prevent it from getting worse.  In controlling the infection, the dentist will recommend a treatment plan that suits your needs such as adding professional dental cleanings more frequently throughout the year as well as prescribing Arestin, a locally administered antibiotic.

For healthier gums and teeth

Consult with your dentist about Arestin today!


The dentist and dental hygienist are experts at cleaning teeth above and below the gum line. Using their special dental tools, they can reach areas of our teeth that we physically cannot with our toothbrush or mouthwash. Yet, even dental professionals have limitations within their dental cleanings.

Arestin is an antibiotic that is placed at the site of active infection. Arestin is a locally administered antibiotic (LAA) composed of minocycline microspheres, 1mg. This medication is used in combination with professional dental cleanings by your dentist or dental hygienist to treat chronic periodontal disease in adults.  Arestin is placed by a dental professional at the time of the deep cleaning appointment if the dentist or dental hygienist feel it is needed. Arestin will help by targeting and fighting off the specific bacteria that causes the gums to be inflamed and bleed. Arestin is a powder-based medication that is placed by a dental professional directly to the specific area of infection.  Without treating the infected site with adjunctive therapy such as Arestin, bacteria will to continue live, grow and multiply which progresses to a much worse phase that may be untreatable by your regular dental practitioner. Ask your dental professional about Arestin.


Frequently Asked Questions

What is Arestin?

Arestin is a locally administered antibiotic. This medication is used together with professional dental cleaning procedures performed by your dental hygienist or your dentist.

What is the active ingredient in Arestin?

The antibiotic Arestin is composed of is called minocycline. Arestin minocycline hydrochloride microspheres 1mg, is a powder like substance that, once in contact with moisture such as saliva or blood, turns into a paste which helps keeps the medication in place.

Why should I be treated with Arestin?

After a dental cleaning, bacteria begin to re-colonize in your mouth within 24 to 48 hours. Patients that are diagnosed with chronic periodontal disease should be treated with Arestin to prevent the bacteria from coming back as aggressive and as fast as it did. You should be treated with Arestin to try to stabilize this bacterial infection

Does Arestin have a taste and will it hurt upon placement?

No, Arestin does not have a taste or even a smell. Once placed, you will not know it is there. Typically there is little to no discomfort upon placement of Arestin. Most patients are treated with anaesthesia-helping pocket visibility

Who will benefit from Arestin?

Anybody who has been diagnosed with chronic periodontal disease may benefit from the use of Arestin. Arestin is not indicated for someone with a minocycline allergy / sensitivity as well as nursing and pregnant women.

How much does Arestin cost?

Pricing depends on how much Arestin is being used during the appointment. It also depends on size of the pack that the dentist purchased

Does insurance cover Arestin?

All insurance policies are different. Some policies might not cover any of the Arestin treatment and some might cover half of the treatment, or all of the treatment. However, it is important to understand the cost of the alternative outcome to not treating the bacterial infection right away. In some cases, the alternative outcome could be a gum surgery procedure and in a severe case, when periodontal disease is not treated, the final outcome could be to lose your natural tooth. Replacement of a missing tooth can be quite expensive.

How often am I treated with Arestin?

If the body responds to the medication properly and it remains in the pocket untouched until resorbed, you will only be treated with Arestin once. After 30 days, Arestin will have had time to work and resorb. You will be required to attend a quick check-up appointment. At the 30 day checkup, the dental hygienist or dentist will re-evaluate the site Arestin was placed and if they need to place Arestin again, they will at that time. 2 doses of Arestin is the maximum dosage per infected site. However typically, most people respond after the initial dose.

Disclaimer The information contained in this website is solely provided for general information purposes only. Such information is not meant to be a substitute for the advice provided by a dentist or dental professional. Any reliance you place on such information is therefore strictly at your own risk.