Depression affects approximately 14.8 million Americans in some form or another. This debilitating condition may cause feelings of hopelessness, lethargy, loss of appetite, anxiety, and disrupted sleep patterns, among other symptoms. In many cases, medication is prescribed to help treat depression. Unfortunately, recent studies show that the most common depression medications, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI), may cause premature dental implant failure.
SSRIs and Bone Loss
SSRI antidepressant medication is useful for treating depression in many patients. Like any medication, however, it can cause side effects. SSRIs have been reported to reduce bone formation. Reduced bone formation weakens your bones and increases the risk of bone fractures. Studies have also found a relationship between SSRI use and hip bone loss.
Increased Risk of Implant Failure
Researchers from McGill University published a retrospective cohort study in November 2014 that studied the relationship between depression medication and implant failure. They found that people taking the most common forms of depression medication (including Celex, Prozac, and Zoloft) are twice as likely to experience premature implant failure. The study included the records of 490 patients who received dental implants between 2007 and 2013 in a New Brunswick dental clinic. 51 of the patients studied were taking SSRIs. A total of 916 implants were studied, 94 of which were placed in the SSRI group.
Data showed that 10.64% of the dental implants in SSRI patients failed prematurely compared with only 4.62% in the other group. These results suggest that there may be a relationship between implant failure and SSRI antidepressants. Future research is required to definitively say that this relationship exists because this study was conducted after the implants were placed. Ideally, future studies will start by interviewing incoming patients about how long they have been using SSRIs and what dose they take.
Antidepressants are important in the treatment of depression for many people. Taking SSRIs does not guarantee that a dental implant will fail, but it is important to be aware that the possibility exists. Future studies are needed to show whether or not SSRIs increase the risk of implant failure. People currently taking depression medication should ask their medical provider before stopping. Abruptly quitting these medications can put unnecessary strain on your body and may cause depression symptoms to increase dramatically. If you take antidepressant medications, talk to your dentist about your medications prior to receiving a dental implant so that your dentist knows of any special measures necessary for the success of your new tooth.
Implants and You
If you have damaged or missing teeth, dental implants can restore your smile. Dental implants are designed to be durable and look like your natural teeth. An implant will make eating less of a hassle and protect your exposed gums from food debris that may become trapped. Placing an implant will also protect the health of your other teeth. When a tooth is lost, the other teeth in your mouth often shift over to fill the gap. An implant will prevent this from happening.