Antimicrobial therapy is a form of oral treatment used to reduce bacterial infections in your mouth. This treatment aims to prevent and treat periodontal disease (gum disease). When plaque begins to build up, infections in the mouth can manifest in painful chewing, bleeding gums, loose teeth, and make you susceptible to other health issues. That's why it's essential to treat these infections at an early stage! You should bring a list of potential questions to your dental appointment, as it's helpful to remember that you play a pivotal role in the treatment option you choose with your dental professional.
Preparation and Treatment
Root planing and scaling are common first steps that your dental professional will recommend in your antimicrobial treatment. This process removes plaque from the periodontal pockets using either a scaler, an ultrasonic cleaner, or a dental laser. In severe cases where periodontal pockets are deeper than usual, your dentist might perform gum flap surgery. This surgery will clean the periodontal infection from around your teeth and root surfaces. While surgery is never ideal, your dentist will use local anesthesia to make the experience less painful.
After your surgery, your dental hygienist scales or debrides the affected tooth's surface to prevent further plaque buildup and enable the gum tissue to heal. Your dental professional might also recommend using an antiseptic mouth rinse. Let's learn how those therapies help you continue on your journey back to healthy gums.
Mouthrinses that contain antiseptic solutions help control the reproduction of the bacteria that grow on the gum tissue in the mouth and help clean out the pockets around the individual teeth where bacteria may hide. They're an easy way to prevent and fight gum disease and are an excellent gum disease topical antiseptic. A report published by BMC Microbiology notes that antiseptic mouth rinses can include the following ingredients:
- Essential oils
- Metal salts
- Sn11 and Zn11
You'll even be doing yourself an extra favor by using an antimicrobial mouthrinse, as it also mitigates bad breath!
Local Antimicrobial Therapy
Your dental professional may use chlorhexidine is to control your plaque, gingivitis, and periodontal disease. This ingredient comes as either a mouth rinse or as a chip used for scaling and root planing procedures.
Your dentist can also offer local antimicrobial therapy, which usually comes in the form of an antimicrobial gel for your gums. They will insert the antibiotic gel containing doxycycline or minocycline powder under your gum tissue. Then they will seal the area with a periodontal pack for up to 10 days.
After Treatment - Care and Next Steps
Just like a strict oral health routine can prevent gum disease, maintaining one is critical after antimicrobial therapy. We recommend brushing your teeth twice a day and cleaning in between your teeth (interdental cleaning) once a day. And top off your hard work with a swish of bacteria-fighting, breath-freshening antiseptic mouth rinse! If you've had local therapy, avoid flossing for a day or two to protect the periodontal pack location.
To determine whether your mouth has healed as expected, your dental professional will want to schedule an examination within two to three months after therapy. If they notice some issues with your healing at this appointment, they may recommend alternative ways to help the process along. Note there is a very small possibility antibiotics for your gum infection could be prescribed. Provided all is well at the follow-up appointment, your dental hygienist will determine a preventive appointment schedule that is right for you.
Remember, the best way to combat gum disease is a healthy oral hygiene routine and knowledge about prevention and treatment! Even if you've had it before, you now have the education of how gum disease forms from plaque buildup and the antimicrobial therapies to fight it. You can continue the conversation with your dental professionals about various gum disease therapies, and keep in mind that you have the power to play a pivotal role in your overall wellness and oral health!