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    Your Medication and Dental Treatment- What you Should Know!

    We don’t always think about the link between the medication we take and the dental treatments we seek. However unconnected they seem, it is important to keep in mind that your medications can affect your dental treatment, and your dental treatment can affect your medications.

    In order to make sure you are aware of the possible outcomes and links between the two, we’ll go over how they affect each other below.

    Medications That Affect Dental Treatments

    Below are some of the medications that have the potential of affecting dental treatments.


    The use of corticosteroids is very common in today’s society for a variety of ailments both acute and chronic. For example, people take corticosteroids for allergic reactions, arthritis, meningitis, emphysema and many other things. That’s why it is important to understand that if you are taking this medication, you are at risk of serious health consequences during dental treatment.

    This is because corticosteroids suppress your body’s production of cortisol from the adrenal cortex, which is important for survival because it helps the body adapt to physical and emotional stress. Dental procedures cause physical and often emotional stress if the patient is fearful. Anything from dental fillings to tooth extractions to oral surgery is considered stressful physically. Since the medication hinders the proper function of the adrenal gland, the patient can suffer from a rare, but often fatal, condition called acute adrenal insufficiency.

    Bisphosphonate Medications

    There are thousands of patients who take oral bisphosphonates for osteopenia and osteoporosis, a very effective medication that is not without its risks once you put the patient in a dentist chair. Patients who take this medication are at dental risk for developing osteonecrosis, or death of the jawbone. Sounds serious, and it is. This has been reported in patients with cancer who receive treatments including bisphosphonates, chemotherapy and/or corticosteroids, and the majority of cases are associated with tooth extractions.

    Why does this happen? The way this medication is designed to work is that it basically slows down bone destroying activity and increases bone building effectiveness. It is very effective in preventing factures in the hip or the spine, but it also has the potential to disrupt the bone-destroying and bone-building axis in the jaw, impairing the bone-destroyers’ ability to remove and repair or contain any diseased bone. Instead, the bone-builders just overbuild and can wall off the diseased bone, which interferes with the development of the necessary structure on which to lay down healthy bone. Basically, there is no bone healing.

    Patients with osteonecrosis have to face the death of their jawbone and the collapse of the bone’s structural architecture. This means plenty of bone pain, loss of bone function and general bone destruction and loss of blood supply to the bone. This then leads to toothaches, exposed bone, swelling and loosening of teeth, altered sensation, etc. Tooth extractions cause the majority of jaw lesions.

    Dry Mouth Caused By Medications

    There are over 400 medications that can cause dry mouth, which will affect your oral health. Saliva is your mouth’s natural defence against bacteria. It stops food from collecting around your teeth and neutralises the acids produced by plaque. Dry mouth increases your risk for tooth decay and gum disease, and even inhalers can cause oral thrush. Some of the more common medications that cause dry mouth are:


    • Antihypertensive drugs
    • Urinary incontinence drugs
    • Antipsychotics
    • Antidepressants
    • Antibiotics
    • Antihistamines
    • Anti-diarrheal and gastric medications
    • Diuretics
    • Pain medications


    Always make sure to discuss the medications that you are taking with your dentist. Even if you think that the two are unrelated, being open and honest with your dentist could potentially save your life. Book an appointment with a Melbourne dentist who is experienced dealing with these issues. Contact Coburg Dental Group today.