Depression Drugs May Cause Dental Implant Failure

Depression Drugs May Cause Dental Implant Failure

Depression, a global disease, is identified by clear changes in thought and affect. A battle with depression can leave in its wake a litany of casualties, both social and personal, and debilitating symptoms. Low levels of serotonin in the brain, or when serotonin is unable to be utilized by the brain, can provoke depression. Even with the right course of treatment, someone suffering from depression may be at risk for other, unobvious difficulties.

A study conducted on patients treated with dental implants from January 2007 to January 2013, suggests that patients taking Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs), the most widely used drugs for the treatment of depression, have a greater chance of having those implants fail.

Celexa                         Citalopram
Lexapro                      Escitalopram
Luvox                          Fluvoxamine
Paxil                            Paroxetine
Prozac                         Fluoxetine
Zoloft                          Sertraline
Viibryd                       Vilazodone

Figure 1: The list of current SSRIs approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat depression
The study theorizes that since SSRIs have been reported to reduce bone formation and increase the risk of bone fracture, osseointegration fails to take place because the osseointegration process is influenced by bone metabolism. Osseointegration occurs when bone cells fasten themselves directly to the surface of the titanium implant, in essence locking the implant into the jaw bone. The study examined 916 dental implants in 490 patients. Fifty-one patients were using SSRIs and made up 94 of the dental implants in the study. Follow up was conducted between three months to 5 1/2 yrs. and saw 10 dental implants fail and 84 succeed within the patient group taking SSRIs. Conversely, 38 dental implants failed and 784 succeeded in the patient group not taking SSRIs. This means that SSRI users saw a 10.6 % rate of dental implant failure compared to their non-SSRI user counterparts’ 4.6 % rate of failure.

While the study took into account the increased risk of dental implant failure related to smoking habits and smaller implant diameters, the findings indicate that treatment with SSRIs is linked to an increased failure risk of osseointegrated implants, and therefore suggests that those suffering from depression currently taking SSRIs that require dental implants, carefully plan surgical treatment with their dental professional.
For more information about dental implants, please visit the American Association for Dental Research.
To read more about depression and SSRIs, please visit the National Institute of Mental Health.


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