The extensive list of side effects associated with taking antidepressants is well-documented, but new research has found that these prescription drugs could also make it more difficult for patients to improve their oral health.
According to Medical Xpress, a study linking antidepressants to lower success rates for dental implant procedures is set to be presented at an upcoming conference for the American Association of Dental Research. The study was conducted by researchers from the University at Buffalo.
A dental implant is used to replace a missing tooth that was lost due to injury or decay. In order for an implant to heal properly, a bone must reform within a patient’s gums to keep the new crown in place.
As part of the study, researchers studied 74 participants who received dental implants at the University at Buffalo postdoctoral dental clinic between Jan. and Aug. 2014. The study’s authors hoped to find a link between antidepressants and the regulation of bone metabolism, which is directly correlated to implant failure.
The research found that the use of antidepressants increases the odds of implant failure by four times. Furthermore, each additional year of antidepressant use would double the odds of failure.
“Antidepressant medication may relieve depression symptoms and help millions of patients worldwide, however, their benefits must be weighed with the side effects. Patients should cooperate with their physician to reach the right balance,” said Latifa Bairam, one of the study’s authors.
About 74% of adults believe an unattractive smile can hurt their career success, which explains why many patients look to restore their smile with dental implants. Unfortunately, implant failure can compound the frustrations of depressed people who were hoping to enhance their oral health, which makes these findings even more troubling.
The dental community has been particularly interested with antidepressants in recent years as several other oral health issues have been linked to the drugs. Osteoporosis, akathisia, bruxism, and dryness of the mouth have all been tied to antidepressants by previous research.
According to The Independent, patients with poor dental health may also need to worry about their overall well-being more than their peers. In a recent study from London, researchers found that participants with gum disease were six times more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease at some point in their lives.
Considering the multitude of studies that have found a direct link between dental health and general wellness, it would not be surprising to see more people put a stronger emphasis on preserving their teeth and gums.