Will Taking Ibuprofen After Dental Implant Placement Hurt Your Healing?

Jun 21, 2016, by Dr. Becky Coats

After your dental implant procedure, you will likely experience some discomfort. We may have prescribed you some prescription pain medication if we expected the discomfort to be serious. But you’ll likely take some over-the-counter pain relievers, whether soon after your procedure or after your prescription medications run out.

In the past, we’ve always encouraged people to take what works best for them, but a new study is suggesting that there’s a potential that come types of pain medication, specifically nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) could potentially interfere with your healing after the implant has been placed. This include medications like aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil), and naproxen (Aleve). These results are controversial, but enough to give one pause.

How NSAIDS Could Affect Healing

Although we are not sure about their potential impact, it’s clear that NSAIDs could interfere with dental implant healing. That’s because all healing starts with the inflammatory response, which includes swelling, but also includes the release of several key chemicals that regulate the healing process.

When NSAIDs limit your inflammatory process, they can help relieve pain, but they can also potentially prevent healing from following its natural course, including the crucial step of bone healing around dental implants, called osseointegration.

Investigating Causes of Implant Failure

One of the problems with trying to study different factors in dental implant failure is that the success rate for implants is so high. With just a few failures per hundred implant, it’s hard to work up a statistical analysis of the causes. To get around this limitation, researchers for this study contacted only people who had had one or more dental implant failures. For this study, they contacted people who received dental implants at a particular clinic over a 33-year period, from 1979 to 2012 who had experienced a dental implant failure.

The total sample contacted was 168 patients, of whom 104 (about 62%) responded. The respondents represented about 82% of the failed implants.These patients had initially received 468 implants and experienced 238 implant failures (51% failure rate for these patients). The most common cause of failure in this sample was failure to osseointegrate, which accounted for 197 failures (83%).

When researchers looked at NSAID use, they found that 60% of patients used NSAIDs around the time of their surgery. These patients had a much higher risk of dental implant failure. They were 3.2 times more likely to lose more than 30% of the bone around the dental implant. And they were nearly 2 times as likely to experience cluster failure, when more than 50% of placed implants failed.

Should You Be Concerned?

This is not the only study to suggest that NSAIDs could cause dental implant failure. However, our understanding of this potential connection is still very limited. No one has suggested an exact mechanism that would explain the connection between medications and implant failure.

Currently, the recommendation that you should avoid NSAIDs is only being made if you have other risk factors for poor bone healing. We’ll talk to you about your potential risk factors and discuss what is the most appropriate medication to help control your discomfort after dental implant placement.

If you are considering dental implants in the Dallas area, please call (817) 481-6888 for an appointment with a Grapevine implant dentist at Grapevine Dental Care.