Should You Get Dental Implants If You Have Anxiety?

Cosmetic dentists carefully evaluate your physical health when determining whether you're a good fit for dental implants. However, your mental health can also impact implant success and should be taken into consideration. Case in point, if you suffer from anxiety, you need to think carefully about whether this procedure is right for you. Here are two questions to ask yourself to help you reach a conclusion.

How Does Your Anxiety Manifest?

Anxiety can range in severity from mild anxiousness to near-constant debilitating dread. Likewise, the way people express their anxiety can vary wildly from person to person. Some people talk fast, others get jittery limbs, and still others have full-blown panic attacks. It's important to think about how your anxiety manifests, because certain behaviors can damage dental implants and cause them to fail.

For example, anxiety causes some people to develop bruxism, a condition where a person consciously or unconsciously grinds their teeth. Not only does tooth grinding cause significant wear and tear on regular teeth, but the constant pressure and scraping can make it harder for implant posts to integrate with the jaw bone, leading to longer recovery times or even complete failure.

It's in your best interest to pay attention to how your body reacts to the anxiety you feel, but don't be disheartened if you notice behaviors that may have a negative impact on dental implants. It may be possible to mitigate the effects, so let your dentist know of any challenges you're dealing with.

What Type of Medication Are You Using?

Medication used to treat anxiety can also affect the success of dental implants. In fact, one study found the use of antidepressants increased the risk of dental implant failure fourfold. There are a couple of reasons for this.

The integration of the post into the jaw bone is crucial for the stability and durability of the dental implant. Unfortunately, some antidepressants used to treat anxiety have a negative effect on bone formation. For instance, SSRIs such as Prozac and Zoloft have been associated with bone loss and increased risk of fractures.

Other medications can trigger destructive behavior. Those same antidepressants can also cause bruxism and jaw clenching, for example, which—as previously noted—can destroy teeth.

To avoid the complications these medications can have on dental implant success, it may be necessary to switch to a different type of prescription drug or use other medicines to counter the side effects. Talk to your primary healthcare provider for advice on how best to handle this situation.

To schedule an evaluation for dental implants, contact a local cosmetic dentist.