Following discussion over the last few years about the possibility of dental problems in those who use bisphosphonates, US researchers have concluded that the same class of drug may effect the success of dental implants.
Researchers from New York University College of Dentistry collected information on 337 women who had at least one dental implant. All of the women were at least 40 years old. The implants were placed between 1997 and 2004.
The study was in the April issue of the Journal of Clinical Periodontology. A copy is available here.
The authors found that women whose implants failed were 2.7 times as likely to be taking bisphosphonate pills for osteoporosis. The link between using these drugs and the risk of implant failure appeared stronger in the upper jaw than in the lower jaw.
They noted that women in the bisphosphonate group were also more likely to have more than one implant placed. The higher rate of implant failure in the bisphosphonate group may also be related to the number of implants and not just the use of bisphosphonates.
Some people receive bisphosphonates as part of cancer treatment. These people get the drugs through a vein. The doses are much higher than those used to treat osteoporosis. Studies have shown that people getting bisphosphonates as part of cancer treatment have a slightly increased risk of osteonecrosis of the jaw (ONJ).
Most people who receive bisphosphonates for osteoporosis take them orally. Their risk for osteonecrosis is small. But the American Academy of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons (AAOMS) says that the risk appears greatest in people who take the drugs for more than three years. AAOMS says that in this group, a doctor may consider stopping the use of bisphosphonates for a few months before and after placing implants.
The authors say this study supports the AAOMS recommendations. But they say more research is needed to discover the risks and benefits of stopping drug use for several months.
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