If you know people with dentures or a bridge, chances are that they didn't lose their teeth to decay. The culprit was most likely periodontal disease.
Now there is a relatively new treatment for periodontal, or gum, disease, which affects 50 million Americans. Arestin is a powder containing a powerful antibiotic that is placed under the gums.
Periodontal disease, also known as periodontitis, is a bacterial infection that attacks and destroys the gums and bone that hold teeth in place. Infection occurs when dental plaque, a sticky, sometimes colorless film, accumulates on the surfaces of teeth. In people with healthy teeth, bone and gum tissue fit snugly around the teeth. When someone has periodontal disease, the supporting tissue and bone break down, forming pockets around the teeth. Over time, these pockets become deeper, allowing plaque to accumulate, and bacteria to spread.
"Arestin shrinks the pockets that result from gum disease," says Dr. Jan Linhart, a Manhattan dentist.