Implant PlacementWhen it comes to looking at the possibility of implant placement, there are several things that we must consider, from the implant site itself to our patients overall health. Additionally, implant companies are constantly making changes to their products to improve the final result. As time passes and dental implants become more mainstream in treatment, research continues to give us new and insightful information on dental implants. With that being said, keeping up with current research is important to help us guide us and ultimately, our patients in making the best decision.

One area that can make an impact on the success of dental implants is the patient’s overall health and habits. It has been believed for a long time that a few of the biggest patient risk factors that have been shown to impact dental implant success is smoking and diabetes. However, some recent research not suggests that diabetes may not be as big of a risk factor as it once was thought to be, especially when the patient’s diabetic condition is well-controlled.

With that being said, new research is now pointing us into yet another direction that may have an impact on dental implant survival rates: medications that patients take on a regular basis. In particular: SSRI’s (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors), including popular ones like Prozac, Paxil, Zoloft, Lexapro and Celexa. This class of medications is used very frequently in the use and treatment of anxiety and depression. So, why are we concerned about a class of medications that treats anxiety and depression and dental implants?

Well, it just so happens that some research in some of the medical journals are showing and suggesting the important role that serotonin plays in bone metabolism and bone cell function. With that being in mind, it only makes sense we ask how this may impact bone healing in implants. In a recent study in a dental journal, it raises that concern and shows that SSRI use may increase the risk dental implant failure osseointegration. In the study, it showed that failure rates were 4.6 percent in nonusers and 10.6 percent failure rate in SSRI users, a 6 percent increase. These findings indicate that we may want to discuss this and consider it into our surgical treatment planning portion of future dental implant patients.

As time goes on, and more and more research and studies are conducted, factors such as SSRI use, can and will be investigated and may have a significant impact on how we treat and treatment plan our patients. And, the importance for us, as dental professionals, is to stay abreast of the most current and recent research. Stay tuned….

Jeff Lineberry, DDS, FAGD, FICOI Visiting Faculty and Contributing Author, Spear Education

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