Osteoporosis is a disease that is associated with rapid bone loss and/or inadequate replacement of healthy bone tissue. The disease is most common in postmenopausal women but it can also occur in older men. People who have osteoporosis are at a higher risk of breaking or fracturing bones from a fall or — in the most severe cases — even from minor bumps and scrapes.
The effects of osteoporosis to oral health are significant, too. Keep reading to find out what that means for tooth loss and replacement with dental implants.
Osteoporosis and Tooth Loss
Bone loss occurs throughout the body for people who have osteoporosis, including the jaw bone. Losing healthy structure in the jaw takes away the foundation that the teeth need to stay sturdy and strong to facilitate proper chewing, eating, and speaking. People who have osteoporosis are more likely to be missing many or all of their teeth.
Unfortunately, a common class of medications to treat osteoporosis may actually make a weak bone less healthy and cause it to die. One study published the The Journal of Implantology and cited by the American Dental Association researched whether the effects of these drugs, called bisphosphonates, would impact the success of dental implant placement.
Dental implants are a comprehensive tooth replacement option that promotes bone growth and thus strengthens the jaw bone for people who are missing teeth.
About the Study
The researchers observed 24 women, 12 of whom had osteoporosis and were taking bisphosphonates to treat it, and the other 12 who did not have osteoporosis and were not taking the class of medication.
All the women in the study were already missing most of their teeth. The remaining teeth were extracted and dental implants were placed soon after.
The results? One year after dental implant placement, the bisphosphonates did not appear to have affected successful integration of the implants and jawbone. One researcher called the implants “completely successful.” All the women had good contact between the bone and each dental implant.
Numerous Benefits of Dental Implants
The conclusion of this study is encouraging news for postmenopausal women taking bisphosphonates who are missing or on the verge of losing some teeth. Dental implants keep the jawbone healthy and whole, reducing the risk of further tooth loss and allowing patients to enjoy a fully functional, natural-looking tooth replacement.
Dental implants can also be expected to last for many years, making them the best financial investment over fixed bridges and traditional removable partials and dentures, which must be replaced periodically as the jawbone degenerates and loses its shape.
Dental implants are a wonderful option for many patients of various ages and stages of life — and more and more people are finding out they can benefit from the replacement, too. If you are missing teeth, do not hesitate to discuss your candidacy for the procedure with your implant dentist.
About the Author
Dr. Robert E. Christensen is a trusted source of comprehensive dental care, including implant dentistry, for Midland and surrounding communities. To learn more about the benefits of dental implants or to find out whether or not you are a candidate for this comprehensive tooth replacement, you are invited to contact the office at 432-684-7424.