Some Antidepressants Associated With Dental Implant Failure

SSRIs may reduce bone mass and density necessary for dental implant success

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Robert Carlson, M.D Beth Bolt, RPh

(RxWiki News) Some dental implants don't stay in place after they have been inserted. New research suggests certain medicines may contribute to this problem

A recent study found that people taking antidepressants known as SSRIs — the most used antidepressants worldwide — were less likely to have successful dental implants when the implants involved attaching to the bone.

"Talk to your dental surgeon about medicines you take."

Some common SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) are Celexa, Paxil, Lexapro, Prozac and Zoloft.

Faleh Tamimi, PhD, of the dentistry faculty at McGill University in Montreal, Canada, wrote the study with colleagues.

Past research suggested that SSRIs may reduce bone formation and increase the risk of bone fracture. The study authors wanted to know whether titanium dental implants, which are implants bonded to bones in the mouth, could be successfully applied in the mouths of those taking the medicines.

A dental implant is a surgical part that works with the bone of the jaw or skull to support a dental prosthesis. A dental prosthesis might be a crown, bridge or denture.

The authors asked 490 patients who were having dental implants about their alcohol intake, SSRI use and other habits. The patients had a total of 916 implants. The authors followed up with the patients for up to 67 months.

Of the 916 implants, 868 were successful. Of the 48 that failed, the failure rate was 10.6 percent among SSRI users but only 4.6 percent among people who did not take the SSRIs.

An implant failed if it did not remain stably attached to the bone or if the bone did not properly grow around the implant.

Smoking was also associated with less successful implants, perhaps because smoking can impair bone healing, the study authors noted. Smaller implants were also less likely than large ones to be successful.

Dr. Tamimi noted that the study authors were surprised by the strength of their findings.

"We did not expect that the negative effect of SSRIs would be so strong, almost equal to that of smoking habits, a very well stabilized hazard for oral health," he told dailyRx News.

The authors noted that they did not find out how well the patients cared for their implants or what SSRI doses patients took. The study also did not consider whether depression itself might lead to less successful implants. The authors noted the need for further research.

The study was published online Sept. 3 in the Journal of Dental Research.

The authors did not declare any conflicts of interest. A number of sources, including the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, funded the study.

Review Date: 
September 5, 2014
Last Updated:
September 9, 2014