Drugs Used in Dentistry
Drugs Used to Treat Periodontal Disease
The doxycycline periodontal system (marketed as Atridox) contains the antibiotic doxycycline and is used to help treat periodontal disease. Doxycycline works by preventing the growth of bacteria. Doxycycline periodontal system is placed by your dentist into deep gum pockets next to your teeth and dissolves naturally over seven days.
Note: Tell your dentist if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to doxycycline or to other tetracyclines. Use of doxycycline periodontal system is not recommended during the last half of pregnancy or in infants and children up to age 8, because the product may cause permanent discoloration of teeth and slow bone growth. Use of doxycycline periodontal system is not recommended if breastfeeding, because doxycycline passes into breast milk. This class of drugs also may decrease the effectiveness of estrogen-containing birth control pills, increasing the chance of unwanted pregnancy.
Drugs Used to Prevent Tooth Decay
Fluoride is a drug used to prevent tooth decay. It is available on a nonprescription basis in many toothpastes. It is absorbed by teeth and helps strengthen teeth to resist acid and block the cavity-forming action of bacteria. As a varnish or a mouth rinse, fluoride helps reduce tooth sensitivity. Prescription-strength fluoride is available as a liquid, tablet, and chewable tablet to take by mouth. It usually is taken once daily. It is prescribed for children and adults whose homes have water that is not fluoridated (has not had fluoride added to water).
Note: Before taking fluoride, be sure to tell your dentist if you are allergic to fluoride, tartrazine (a yellow dye in some processed foods and drugs), or any other drugs. Do not take calcium, magnesium, or iron supplements while taking fluoride without checking with your dentist. Tell your dentist if you are on a low-sodium or sodium-free diet. Do not eat or drink dairy products one hour before or one hour after taking fluoride.
Fluoride can cause staining of the teeth if too much is ingested while the teeth are developing.
Dry Mouth Drugs
Pilocarpine, marketed as Salagan, may be prescribed by your dentist if you have been diagnosed with dry mouth. The drug stimulates saliva production.