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Suboxone is a prescription used to treat opioid addiction. Even though Suboxone is a safe prescription medicine used in a treatment program, it can have some side effects. Some of these side effects may affect oral health. Still, Suboxone use alone typically does not ruin teeth.

Suboxone and Common Side Effects

Suboxone is the brand name for the combination of buprenorphine and naloxone. Its full name is SUBOXONE Sublingual Film (CIII). It is a semisynthetic opioid. To take the medicine, the film is placed under the tongue or between the cheek and gums. This film dissolves in the mouth. This prescription medication is used to treat opioid dependence and addiction in adults. Opioid addiction could be to either prescription or illegal opioid drugs. The buprenorphine in Suboxone works to fill opioid cravings without giving patients the dangerous high associated with opioids. The naloxone in Suboxone is used to help protect against misuse of the product. Suboxone is most successful when used as part of a comprehensive treatment program that incorporates behavioral therapy and counseling.

Common side effects of Suboxone may include:

  • Back pain
  • Blurred vision
  • Constipation
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Disturbance in attention or difficulty maintaining focus
  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness
  • Drug withdrawal syndrome
  • Dry mouth (Xerostomia)
  • Fainting
  • Headaches
  • Intoxication
  • Irregular or fast heart beat
  • Nausea
  • Numb mouth
  • Painful tongue
  • Redness in the mouth
  • Sweating
  • Vomiting

Some of these side effects could cause serious or life-threatening breathing problems. Suboxone users should seek immediate medical attention if breathing feels difficult or if feeling faint.

Suboxone and Oral Health

As Suboxone is taken as a film that dissolves in the mouth, it can impact the mouth. Since the drug is acidic, it increases the production of acids in the mouth. This can cause teeth erosion.

The listed side effects related to oral health include dry mouth, numb mouth, redness in the mouth, and painful tongue. None of the listed side effects are about teeth. However, oral and gum health can directly impact dental health. For example, dry mouth can make teeth more vulnerable to bacteria and decay.

Other Causes of Dental Problems for Patients Taking Suboxone

While many Suboxone patients have dental concerns, Suboxone may not be the primary cause. Issues with teeth can be due to previous opioid use instead of Suboxone. Successful treatment with Suboxone may be beneficial for some people’s dental health as the opioid abuse was the source of the problems.  Overcoming opioid abuse can lead to different choice-making and better attention to dental health. Causes for a decline in dental health can also include other lifestyle choices or biological factors.

If you or a loved one has questions about opioid addiction, treatment, or Suboxone, speak with a medical professional or an addiction specialist. If you are taking Suboxone and experiencing negative side effects, seek medical attention. It is important to maintain your treatment and focus on recovery. Dentists and specialists are trained to help with dental concerns, even when related to drug use. Asking questions can help you find the support your need to maintain successful treatment and health.

Resources

http://www.nnoha.org/nnoha-content/uploads/2019/02/NNOHA-MAT-Webinar-2-7-19.pdf

https://www.suboxone.com/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3907320/