Generic name: chlorhexidine [ klor-HEX-i-deen ]
Drug classes: Antiseptic and germicides, Mouth and throat products
Medically reviewed by Drugs.com. Last updated on Dec 9, 2022.
Uses for chlorhexidine
Chlorhexidine is used to help treat periodontal disease (a disease of your gums), which is caused by bacteria growing beneath the gum line. Chlorhexidine works by killing the bacteria. Up to eight chlorhexidine implants are placed between your teeth and gums in places where the gum has a deep pocket. Your dentist will place the chlorhexidine implants after your teeth have been thoroughly cleaned .
This medicine is available only with your dentist's prescription .
Before using chlorhexidine
In deciding to use a medicine, the risks of taking the medicine must be weighed against the good it will do. This is a decision you and your doctor will make. For this medicine, the following should be considered:
Tell your doctor if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to this medicine or any other medicines. Also tell your health care professional if you have any other types of allergies, such as to foods, dyes, preservatives, or animals. For non-prescription products, read the label or package ingredients carefully.
Studies on this medicine have been done only in adult patients and there is no specific information comparing use of chlorhexidine implants in children with use in other age groups .
Many medicines have not been studied specifically in older people. Therefore, it may not be known whether they work exactly the same way they do in younger adults or if they cause different side effects or problems in older people. There is no specific information comparing use of chlorhexidine implants in the elderly with use in other age groups .
Studies in women suggest that this medication poses minimal risk to the infant when used during breastfeeding.
Interactions with Medicines
Although certain medicines should not be used together at all, in other cases two different medicines may be used together even if an interaction might occur. In these cases, your doctor may want to change the dose, or other precautions may be necessary. Tell your healthcare professional if you are taking any other prescription or nonprescription (over-the-counter [OTC]) medicine.
Interactions with Food/Tobacco/Alcohol
Certain medicines should not be used at or around the time of eating food or eating certain types of food since interactions may occur. Using alcohol or tobacco with certain medicines may also cause interactions to occur. Discuss with your healthcare professional the use of your medicine with food, alcohol, or tobacco.
Proper use of chlorhexidine
The dose of this medicine will be different for different patients. Follow your doctor's orders or the directions on the label. The following information includes only the average doses of this medicine. If your dose is different, do not change it unless your doctor tells you to do so.
The amount of medicine that you take depends on the strength of the medicine. Also, the number of doses you take each day, the time allowed between doses, and the length of time you take the medicine depend on the medical problem for which you are using the medicine.
The number of chlorhexidine implants inserted will be different for different patients. In addition, the following information includes only the average treatment using chlorhexidine implants. If your treatment is different, do not change it unless your dentist tells you to do so.
- For dental implant dosage form:
- For periodontitis:
- Adults—One implant inserted into each gum pocket that is too deep. Up to 8 implants may be inserted during each treatment. Treatment may be repeated every three months.
- Children—Use and dose must be determined by your dentist .
- For periodontitis:
It is not necessary to remove the implants; they will dissolve on their own. However, your dentist will want to check the depth of the pockets in your gums every 3 months to see if they need to be treated again .
Precautions while using chlorhexidine
For 10 days after the implants have been inserted, do not floss around the teeth and gums that have been treated. Using floss could push the implants out .
Check with your dentist right away if an implant becomes loose or falls out. Chlorhexidine implants are small, orange-brown rectangular chips that are rounded at one end .
Side Effects of chlorhexidine
Along with its needed effects, a medicine may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.
Check with your doctor immediately if any of the following side effects occur:
- Bleeding, tender, or enlarged gums
- cough, congestion or tightness in chest, or wheezing
Some side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. Also, your health care professional may be able to tell you about ways to prevent or reduce some of these side effects. Check with your health care professional if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome or if you have any questions about them:
- Tooth, gum, or mouth pain, tenderness, aching, throbbing, soreness, discomfort, or sensitivity (mild to moderate)
- Indigestion or upset stomach
- sore throat
- ulcers or sores in the mouth
Other side effects not listed may also occur in some patients. If you notice any other effects, check with your healthcare professional.
Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
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