This particular study has been led by researchers from the New York University College of Dentistry. There were 337 women involved in the study, and each woman had at least one dental implant, Moreover, women were 40+ years old and they had implant treatments between 1997 and 2004. The study actually compared the loosened or fallen out dental implants to those that stayed in place and did not fail.
The findings showed that women from the study who struggled with fallen out implants (or badly loosened ones) were actually taking osteoporosis medication (bisphosphonate pills). Researchers have also noted quite a strong link between upper jaw dental implant failure and osteoporosis medication.
It is important to mention that as women get older, and pass through the menopause phase, their bone mass will also start weakening and breaking down at higher speeds. The drugs in the bisphosphonate group help slowing down the process of bone loss and damage, and they will help keeping the bones strong and healthy. Some of the most popular medications in this group include Actonel, Fosamax or Boniva.
These types of osteoporosis drugs are also prescribed to cancer patients. They receive the bisphosphonates in much higher doses. Research in this field has showed that cancer patients who receive bisphosphonate treatment, are more exposed to developing osteonecrosis of the jaw. This condition is similar to when a tooth is extracted and the jaw bone is damaged through the surgery; this bone might not heal and cause osteonecrosis.
People who take bisphosphonates for osteoporosis are not exposed to the risk of osteonecrosis. However, the AAOMS (American Academy for Oral and Maxillofacial surgeons) has warned that patients who take such medication for 3 consecutive years, are facing a higher risk for developing the condition.
The AAOMS also advises doctors that they should stop prescription of bisphosphonates for a few months before and after having a patient go through dental implant treatment. This particular study has been published in the Journal of Clinical Periodontology (April issue).