Medically reviewed by Drugs.com. Last updated on Oct 18, 2022.
Commonly used brand name(s)
In the U.S.
Chemical Class: Tetracycline (class)
Uses for tetracycline
Tetracycline periodontal fibers are used to help treat periodontal disease (a disease of your gums). Periodontal disease is caused by bacteria growing beneath the gum line. Tetracycline works by keeping the number of bacteria from growing. Lowering the amount of bacteria helps to reduce inflammation and swelling in your mouth, and the amount of bleeding around the teeth. Tetracycline fibers are placed in the inflamed mouth areas by your dentist after he or she has thoroughly cleaned your teeth.
Before using tetracycline
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 tetracycline, the following should be considered:
Tell your doctor if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to tetracycline 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 tetracycline have been done only in adult patients, and there is no specific information comparing use of tetracycline 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 tetracycline in the elderly with use in other age groups.
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 tetracycline
When tetracycline periodontal fibers are in place in your mouth, try to avoid any actions that may knock the fibers loose. For example:
- Do not chew hard, crusty, or sticky foods, or chewing gum.
- Do not brush or floss near any treated areas, but continue to clean the other teeth.
- Do not use a dental spray device (e.g., Water-Pik).
- Do not probe or pick at the fibers with your tongue, toothpicks, or fingers.
The dose of tetracycline 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 tetracycline. 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 amount of tetracycline periodontal fibers that will be put in your gums will be determined by your dentist. The number of teeth that need treatment and the depth of the pockets in your gums will determine the amount of fiber that is used.
Precautions while using tetracycline
Check with your dentist right away if the fibers become loose or fall out before your next dental visit.
Check with your dentist right away if you have pain or swelling or other problems in the treated areas.
It is very important that your dentist check your progress and remove the tetracycline periodontal fibers after ten days. Do not miss any dental appointments.
Tetracycline side effects
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:
- Gum redness, swelling, and pain in the areas of treatment
- tongue pain and redness
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:
- Discomfort in the area where the fibers have been placed
- redness in the area where the fibers were removed
- Sore throat
- staining of the tongue
- white patches on tongue or in 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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