By Shelly Fesler, RDH, BSDH
Arestin is widely recommended for those with moderate to advanced gum disease. It works well in some situations but can be over-used and is less cost effective than other gum medications such as Periostat or Atridox.
It is a powder form of the antibiotic minocycline, unlike most antibiotics, this product comes in a unique form called microsphere powder and kills bacteria for up to 21 days
The medication stays where placed in the gum pocket and doesn't affect the rest of the body. The antibiotic is absorbed only in the inflamed area.
Because the treatment is so localized, you don't have any of the common side effects from taking antibiotics or the inconvienence of having to take pills everyday.
It is quickly, easily and painlessly placed.
Once in place, the powder mixes with fluid in your mouth and adheres to the root surface slowly releasing medication to the diseased tissue.
This prescription medication that has to be placed by a dental hygienist or dentist.
The cost of Arestin is $30 - $50 per site. There can be up to six sites per tooth which can REALLY add up.
It is used right after dental scaling is finished.
Not an option if you are allergic to minocycline or tetracycline.
It is not recommended for children or women who are pregnant or nursing.
Ask your dentist to write a prescription, then get it filled at the pharmacy.
If you have prescription coverage, you should only have to pay your co-pay. Take it to your dentist or hygienist and have them place it for you.
There will still be a charge for placing it, but if you have more than 2 or 3 sites that need treatment you should save money.
I like this product and have seen it improve gum disease by decreasing gum pocket depths. It is a good option if you have a few moderate (5-6mm) pockets.
I don't use it for those with a lot of deep gum pockets. The result is not as good in deeper pockets and it is not cost effective if you have a lot of sites that need treatment.
Periostat or Atridox are better and more cost effective choices if you have more than a few pockets. Periostat is a prescription low dose antibiotic that is taken twice a day for at least three months. Atridox is placed in the gum pocket.
Not when used appropriately.
Can it be over-used as a money maker...YES!
This product is just one tool that dentists and hygienists use as a treatment for periodontal disease.
Sometimes it works very well, but not every time. Relapse is possible and the antibiotic may need to be re-applied.
Gum disease is a complicated problem with many contributing factors. There is no "one size fits all" course of treatment that is guaranteed to cure your gum disease.
Although Arestin is a valuable tool for killing bacteria. It will not cure gum disease alone.
In some cases, your money would be better spent on having your teeth cleaned an additional time or two each year or on a dental care product that will make your home care more effective.