If periodontal disease is an infection, why don't you just use a powerful antibiotic?
While we do use antibiotics in your treatment (for example, we often place Arestin®, a local antibiotic, when we are performing deep cleaning treatments), we are cautious in our use of antibiotics. This is for several reasons.
For one thing, the body is a complex organism. As you may know, you have many bacteria living in your body performing crucial tasks. Using antibiotics to wipe out the bacteria often results in elimination of good bacteria as well as bad bacteria, and you are likely to experience negative side effects. For example, yeast infections are a common side effect during antibiotic use because the bacteria can no longer fight off the invading fungus. Diarrhea is often common.
Additionally, antibiotic overuse is creating "superbugs" – bacteria that no longer respond to certain antibiotics. This is dangerous, and we do not wish to contribute to this problem.
At South Shore Long Island Periodontics & Implantology, we often use antimicrobial testing to determine the precise strain of bacteria that are causing the problem. We can also test which medications they are sensitive to so that we can more effectively target treatment with minimal side effects. Many of our treatments focus on not just killing existing bacteria, but preventing reinfection so that we don't have to use antibiotics more often than necessary.