Osteoporosis happens when your body loses bone or doesn't make enough bone to replace cells that normally die off. As a result, you are more likely to suffer from fractures and brittle bones throughout your body, including in your jaw.
More than 54 million Americans, including both women and men of all races and ages, suffer from osteoporosis. And many may believe that dental implants are not an option due to their potential loss of bone in the jaw area. But research has found that osteoporosis sufferers can have successful implants.
During the implant procedure, the dentist uses a titanium screw to attach to the jaw. The prosthetic tooth is adhered to the other end of the screw. As the jaw heals, the bone naturally grows tightly against the screw; this is called osseointegration.
With osteoporosis, the concern is that the jaw bone will be too porous to properly support a dental implant, or that once it is inserted, it will be likely to come loose because osseointegration will not take place.
In fact, researchers have found that there is little difference between osteoporosis sufferers and those without the disease when it comes to how well a dental implant is accepted by the body. One reason why the jaw may be able to heal well despite the osteoporosis diagnosis is that bone loss is not the same throughout the body. Just because bone mineral density was found to be low in the spine and neck, for example, doesn't mean it was also low in the jaw.
Patients with advanced osteoporosis may have bone scans done to the jaw bone specifically to determine if the bone density there is enough to allow an implant to be set.
You may also be at risk of infection. Infection can occur whether or not you have osteoporosis, but you may be at slightly increased risk if the bone is slow to heal. A class of medication called bisphosphonates is often prescribed for osteoporosis sufferers and may cause some issues with delayed healing, so this is a legitimate concern. Fortunately, studies have shown that—especially for those who take this type of drug orally—there is little added risk.
Take great care of your oral health and follow all your dentist's directions for care of the implant to avoid infection. It's likely that if you do have osteoporosis or other risk factors, that your dentist may give you an antibiotic before or after the implant surgery to decrease infection risk.
Most dentists at clinics like Great Plains Oral Surgery And Implant Center are able to successfully seat dental implants into patients with mild to moderate bone deterioration, with almost no difference in outcomes compared to patients without osteoporosis. If you have questions, talk to your medical doctor who is treating your osteoporosis and your dentist or oral surgeon.Share