FAQ About Using Locally Applied Antibiotics For Periodontal Disease

Health & Medical Blog

When dentists talk about locally applied antibiotics, they are usually referring to little "chips" of antibiotic medications that can be inserted between the gums and teeth. These chips stay in place better than an antibiotic cream or gel. They can be very effective for the treatment of gum disease, but you might have a few questions you'd like answered if your dentist is recommending them for you.

Will you still need a root scaling procedure if your dentist uses locally applied antibiotics?

Root scaling is a commonly recommended procedure for the treatment of gum disease. In this procedure, a dentist scrapes the tartar off the parts of your teeth that are just below the gumline. The procedure can help stop gum disease from worsening. If your dentist is recommending local antibiotics for your gum disease, there's a good chance they intend for the antibiotics to be used in conjunction with root scaling. Often, the dentist will perform a root scaling procedure, and then as they are finishing up, they'll insert the antibiotic chips in your gum pockets. In other words, antibiotics are not a substitute for root scaling; the two treatments go hand-in-hand.

Will you feel the antibiotic chip?

Generally, dentists apply antibiotic chips while you're still under local anesthetic, so you won't feel a thing when they're inserted. If you happen to not be under anesthesia when the chips are applied, you may feel a little pinch and soreness, but no serious pain. After placement, you shouldn't really be aware of the chip. In fact, patients often find that their gums start feeling better and less painful once the antibiotics are in place since the antibiotics help slowly heal the infection.

Do you need to have the chip removed?

No. The antibiotic chip will fully dissolve in the days following treatment. There is no need to have it removed.

Are there any rules you have to follow after having an antibiotic chip inserted?

After you have the chip inserted, your doctor will generally tell you to avoid overly crunchy or chewy foods for about a week. This helps ensure the chip does not get displaced before it has a chance to work. You will also be told to brush very gently in the area where the chip has been inserted. 

If you have other questions about locally applied antibiotic dental chips, ask a dentist. They are usually happy to share their knowledge with patients. 


6 January 2022