Role of Medication in Orthodontic treatment


This article discusses in detail the effects of Medication in Orthodontic treatment and on the movement of the teeth. Orthodontic treatment is based on the assumption that when a force is applied on the teeth and the adjacent tissues, the teeth and tissues absorb these forces well and accurately. The teeth must store these mechanical forces and transfer them to adjacent tissues. The tissues convert the mechanical forces into chemical forces resulting in cellular events within tissues. The goal of applying mechanical forces onto the teeth with orthodontics is to create structural changes within bones.


The concentration of various medications

Orthodontic treatment research is currently focused on methods that study the increase in drug concentration in blood and its relation with molecular tissues and dental movement. On the other hand, at the same time, the decrease in drug concentration and undesired elements can also have serious side effects. Drug concentration in blood and the role it plays in controlling the movement of the teeth should be further investigated.


Why people respond differently to orthodontic treatment?

Orthodontists have experienced over time that the teeth move differently in different people, and people respond differently to orthodontic treatment. Some of these differences are due to dissimilarities in bone rebuilding, the side effects of various medications, and systematic factors. These side effects impact the intended cells with the help of orthodontic forces. This is why it is necessary to examine all drugs that the patient is taking, and to study the therapeutic effects and also the side effects that these drugs may have on intended cells. Therefore, it is crucial that the orthodontist carefully monitors the patient’s history and the drugs he or she takes before and during the orthodontic treatment, in a way that it leads to the best treatment strategy. Also, the intervals required for monitoring the forces and the next appointments can help making treatment decisions.


Medications that effect tooth movement

Any medication or any substance that can change the physiological or pathological system might affect the movement of the teeth. If a patient takes any medication during the orthodontic treatment, in order to manage the pain and the forces applied to the biological tissues, or to manage problems related to the temporomandibular joint, or to prevent any infection, these medications and their effects on orthodontic treatment must be monitored and examined throughout the entire course of treatment.


Effects of drugs on orthodontic tooth movement

The impact of drugs on orthodontic treatment may significantly affect short-term or long-term results of the treatment. Therefore, the mechanism and the effect of medications taken by patients on orthodontic treatment and also on tissue regeneration and orthodontic movement must be seriously taken into consideration.


Thyroid hormones

Thyroid hormones, which are used to treat hypothyroidism or used as an alternative treatment, may impact the orthodontic treatment. Thyroid hormones increase the pace of the orthodontic movement in patients under these medications. Also, thyroxin increases bone activity and decreases bone density. It has been reported that taking low doses of these drugs and managing thyroxin at the same time in short term result in decrease in the frequency of the forces resulted from root decay and decrease in the absorption of the force, leading to changes in bone rebuilding process and improvement of the dentin.



Since the physiological role of calcitonin is to inhibit the movement of the teeth, they might delay the orthodontic treatment. Calcitonin inhibits bone resorption, and the systematic intake of calcium increases the resistance of the teeth against orthodontic forces.



Researchers believe that indomethacin has a strong inhibitory effect, and significantly impacts the movement of the teeth due to orthodontic forces.



Research shows that corticosteroid medications and bisfosfonats also can have inhibitory effects on orthodontic movement of the teeth.


Effect of acetaminophen on orthodontics

In general, painkillers are made from narcotic substances to impact the central nervous system or the peripheral pain mechanism. They are considerably effective and are prescribed during the orthodontic treatment. Meanwhile, acetaminophen does not have a significant effect on the movement of the teeth as a painkiller, and it can be just used to control pain during the orthodontic treatment. Clinical experience has shown that acetaminophen is beneficial in controlling the pain and discomfort associated with orthodontic treatment, and no undesired side effect has been reported.


Vitamins and orthodontic treatment

Other than medications used to control various diseases, patients can continue taking vitamins, minerals, and any other hormone supplements during their orthodontic treatment.


Is orthodontics possible at an older age as the likelihood of taking medication increases?

 With increasing age and use of various medications, the orthodontic treatment might face setbacks. But this does not mean that adults cannot benefit from orthodontics. Studies regarding the effects of different drugs, and their role in orthodontic treatment at older ages show that age is not an obstacle for orthodontics. However, the orthodontists should consider the dosage of medications taken by the patient, and have knowledge of these medications and the effect of each medication on the movement of the teeth.