Antidepressants are a popular medication in the treatment of anxiety disorders, depression and pain. The CDC states that between 2005-2008 antidepressants was the third most prescribed drug during physician office visits. During that time, 11 percent of Americans over the age of 12 was taking antidepressant medication. While antidepressants help patients manage mood, symptoms of depression, bi-polar disorder and other conditions, it also comes with some side effects. Adding to it is a little-known side effect revealed from a recent study conducted at the University of Buffalo, where researchers found the use of antidepressants increased the risks of tooth implant failure by four times the average rate.
With any tooth or dental implant, healthy bone must grow around the post that is drilled into the jaw bone for it to be successful and secure. During initial studies of SSRIs and bone fractures, University of Buffalo researchers Bairam and Andreana, noticed a trend among their study participants who had dental implant surgery. When analyzing the dental implant study in 2014, the researchers found, that of the few participants who reported dental implant failures, 33 percent indicated use of antidepressants. For those who reported no dental implant failure, the use of antidepressants was 11 percent. Also, there were more implant failures reported by women than men. It’s also important to note that the review of the 2014 study did not include a screening of any one particular antidepressant.
The side effects of antidepressants are wide-ranging, and these medications do not affect any two people the same way. Some of the side effects reported were fatigue, low libido, weight gain or loss, tremors, insomnia and dry mouth.
Why Dentists are Concerned about Dental Implants and Antidepressants
As early as 2007, a study of antidepressants from the University of Minnesota revealed a link between SSRI (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor) use and the risk of increased bone fractures, especially among women. Published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, this study showed that older women had a 60 percent increase in bone loss.
Besides interfering with dental implant success, osteoporosis also weakens bones and decreases their density. Osteoporosis is a condition that affects more women than men, which can explain the higher rate of implant failure by women who were taking SSRIs in the University of Buffalo study. Also another notable side effect of SSRIs that can affect dental implant patients is Akathisia, which is an agitated state that causes shaking of the jaw and head, teeth grinding and dry mouth.
Of course, we’re not recommending that any dental implant candidate drop their antidepressant medication without speaking to their doctor or mental health professional first. Depending upon where you are in your treatment and its severity, your physician may offer other forms of treatment that can be just as effective.
Why we ask about your health at every dental exam?
Our dentists take a thorough health history from all first-time patients. At cleanings, we always ask what’s new or what’s changed with your health or medications. The more we know; the better we can align our treatments and procedures to your health status for a positive and healthier outcome. Don’t put off what keeps you healthy and happy.