New Research Reveals Why Some Dental Implants Fail

Around 500,000 people in North America receive dental implants every year, and this number is growing. While implants have a low rate of complications and failure, researchers have finally determined why some dental implants are failing.

A team of researchers from McGill University reviewed data on implants from more than 700 patients who received the implants at the East Coast Oral Surgery Center in New Brunswick between 2007 and 2015 and followed up with studies on rats.It turns out that taking some common medications while avoiding others improves the odds that the dental implant will attach correctly after it is installed by a prosthodontist.

According to Professor Faleh Timimi of the McGill Faculty of Dentistry, the success of the procedure comes down to how well the existing bone accepts the implant to create a connection between the implant surface and the bone. As some medications can affect bone metabolism and how bone cells heal, die, or multiply, they can affect the success of dental implants.

Researchers concluded that people preparing for an implant may want to begin taking beta blockers, typically used to control high blood pressure, for awhile before surgery. According to the study on 1,499 implants performed, 327 were done in people who took beta blockers while 1,172 were done in people who did not take beta blockers. The failure rate among people on beta blockers was just 0.6% compared to 4.1% among people on beta blockers.

The team looked specifically at beta blockers as they have been reported to boost bone formation and the researchers believed they could help reduce the risk of implant failure. According to Tamimi, the team did not expect such a clear difference between beta blocker users and non-users, although they warn that randomized clinical trials wills till be needed to further investigate the link.

The study also concluded that heartburn medication can impede the integration of implants based on 1,773 implants performed. Of these, 133 were in people who took heartburn medication and 1,640 were in people who did not take heartburn medication. The failure rate among people on heartburn medication was 6.8% compared to just 3.2% among people not on heartburn medication.

While scientists have already known that heartburn drugs can reduce calcium absorption in bones and increase the risk of fracture, this study is the first to show its negative effects on the outcome of dental implant procedures.

Heartburn medication is the third-most commonly prescribed pharmaceutical in the world and it’s especially common on a long-term basis among seniors who are also prime candidates for dental implants.

If you take heartburn medication, it’s important to discuss how it may affect dental implant surgery with your prosthodontist. Additional resources can be found at Prosthodontic Associates.

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