Why gamble with chlorhexidine?
Do the crowded tables, flashing lights, and winning money excite you? If so, Las Vegas might be the place for you. However, choosing red or black on the roulette wheel is not as simple in dentistry. Chlorhexidine is one of several high-stakes hazards that you might not be aware of, despite the fact that the payoff isn't worth it. Chlorhexidine was once regarded as the gold standard, but as time went on and because of its capacity to destroy bacteria, we ignored the drawbacks including staining, calculus buildup, and loss of taste. However, things only grow worse, and the odds are not on your side.
Inactivation in Blood and Saliva
The mouth is not often a dry location, unlike the desert around Las Vegas. Blood, saliva, and even toothpaste have been found to significantly impair chlorhexidine's antibacterial properties. According to studies, you should wait up to an hour before eating or drinking to prevent inactivation, and wait 30 minutes after using chlorhexidine as a mouthwash.
Inhibition of Fibroblasts:
One point to emphasize while using chlorhexidine is how it affects the fibroblasts that produce the periodontal ligament. Chlorhexidine has been reported to harm fibroblasts and other collagen-producing cells, according to studies. In order for periodontal therapy to be effective, it is crucial that these cells are created appropriately. Improper development might result in reattachment problems, delayed healing, and an unfavorable outcome for the patient.
Death is the most severe side effect of a chlorhexidine rinse that has been documented. The Food and Drug Administration has received reports of over 52 anaphylactic cases. In two of these cases, a fatality following dental extractions has been reported. Chlorhexidine is not meant to be used after surgery or on any open wounds due to its 1,200 ppm concentration. It's crucial to keep in mind that chlorhexidine wasn't intended to be used as a rinse for implants, extractions, or periodontal therapy. It was intended to be used only to treat gingivitis' swelling, bleeding, and inflammation and to be stopped after two weeks. Chlorhexidine use outside of the recommended dosage can have serious consequences.
Only one other professional rinse makes use of activated chlorine dioxide. Fortunately, there are no hazards associated with using this rinse, and both you and your patients will greatly benefit from using it. Professional rinses are only available from licensed professionals and cannot be purchased over the counter.
The same germs can be killed by activated chlorine dioxide just like they can be by chlorhexidine, but it also does it more quickly and with fewer parts per million. Since chlorine dioxide is a gas, it can swiftly leave the tissues with no lasting consequences. It is known to be superior to other products at not only getting rid of bacteria but also viruses, fungus, and volatile sulfur compounds.
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Kristin Goodfellow RDH
Kristin is Chief Clinical Officer of OraCare, a practicing Registered Dental Hygienist