Antidepressants linked to tooth implant failure, new study finds

antidepressants and dental implant failure
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Antidepressants, commonly used to treat anxiety, pain and other disorders, may play a role in dental implant failure, according to a new pilot study by US researchers.

The research by a team at the University at Buffalo, NY, found that the use of antidepressants increased the odds of implant failure by four times. Each year of antidepressant use doubled the odds of failure.

While these drugs are often used to manage mood and emotions, a side effect decreases the regulation of bone metabolism, which is crucial to the healing process.

For an implant to heal properly, new bone must form around it to secure it in place.

“Four of the many known side effects [of antidepressants] that are reported in the literature are a big concern to us as dentists in regard to oral and bone health,” Dr Latifa Bairam said.

Additional side effects of the drug include osteoporosis, a condition in which bones become weak and brittle; akathisia, a disorder characterised by the need to be in constant motion, including the head and jaw; bruxism, or teeth grinding; and dryness of the mouth, all of which affect the implant healing process

The study findings will be presented at the 45th annual American Association for Dental Research conference on March 19. 

After analysing data from the medical charts of UB Dental Clinic patients in 2014, the researchers found that of the few patients who experienced implant failures, 33 per cent used antidepressants. For patients who did not experience failures, only 11 per cent used the drug.

“We decided that the dental community and the world should be aware of this, and that triggered the preparation of the research,” Dr Sebastiano Andreana said. 

“The difference between 33 per cent and 11 per cent is quite remarkable and needs further in-depth analysis.”

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