Penicillin Allergies and Dental Implant Failures

 Recent studies have suggested penicillin allergies are the likely cause of many dental implant failures.  Could alternative medicines be at the root of these unsuccessful procedures?  Read on to learn the most recent findings.


Who Needs Dental Implants?

 As many as 5.7% of Americans currently have dental implants1.  There are a variety of reasons that a patient might need to have an implant installed.  The most common causes are lost teeth, infections, and discomfort with regards to dentures.  While these conditions are most likely to effect people aged sixty five and up, it is not uncommon for patients of all ages to need implants at some point in their lives.


Medications Involved In The Procedure

 As with any medical procedure, the installation of dental implants poses a small, but still potentially serious risk for infection.  To prevent this from happening, dental practitioners will often prescribe medications for their patients to take as their mouth heals.  The most common of these is Amoxicillin, a medication derived from penicillin2.

Unfortunately, penicillin is one of the more common allergies found around the world, with as much as 10% of the population reporting issues with the medication.  This can make treatment difficult for a wide variety of medical issues, and dental implants are no exception.


Alternatives To Penicillin

Fortunately for allergy sufferers, awareness has grown significantly in recent years.  Several viable alternatives now exist, most notably clindamycin, azithromycin, ciprofloxacin, and metronidazole.  In most cases, these medications work at a similar rate to penicillin.  However, in a study conducted by the New York University College of Dentistry, patients who were prescribed a medication other than penicillin were significantly more likely to have issues with their implants.


The Most Recent Research

The overall failure rate was found to be 12.9%.  However, once the participants were separated based on the medications they took, a clear picture began to emerge.  Patients who took the penicillin based medicine saw a failure rate of only 8.4%.  Patients who took an alternative medicine saw a failure rate as high as 17.1%2.



This large disparity conclusively proves that penicillin allergies can lead to implant failure.  The cause of this is still unknown, by dental practitioners should be mindful when discussing implant options with their patients.



 1:  Elani HW, Starr JR, Da Silva JD, & Gallucci GO. (n.d.). Trends in dental implant use in the U.S., 1999-2016, and projections to 2026. Journal of dental research

2:Machado, K. P. (2022, April 6). Patients with penicillin allergy more likely to experience implant failure – dimensions of Dental Hygiene: Magazine. Dimensions of Dental Hygiene | Magazine. From

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Penicillin Allergies Are The Likely Cause Of Many Dental Implant Failures

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