Menopause is an important life event. It is marked by hormonal changes that affect many systems throughout a woman’s body. If you are nearing menopause or have already reached it, you may wonder about its effects on your oral health. If you have lost one or more teeth, you may be especially curious about how menopause might affect your candidacy for dental implants. Let’s discuss this important topic.
During and after menopause, estrogen levels in women tend to drop. Estrogen plays a key role in bone health, and low levels of it increase a woman’s risk of osteoporosis, a medical condition that is marked by reduced bone density and strength. Unfortunately, severe osteoporosis can affect the jawbone to the point where it is not able to support dental implants.
Dry mouth often accompanies other menopausal symptoms. Without adequate saliva to rinse away harmful bacteria, menopausal and postmenopausal women are at an increased risk of gum disease. This infection of the gum tissue is a big contraindication for dental implants because if it becomes severe enough, it can destroy the bone and gums around an implant, thereby leading to the implant’s ultimate failure.
Should Postmenopausal Women Get Dental Implants?
Research has found that postmenopausal women tend to have a higher dental implant failure rate than other groups. However, that should not necessarily dissuade you from pursuing this form of tooth replacement. Here are a few important things to keep in mind:
- You have a measure of control. By working with your primary care practitioner, you may be able to avoid or control osteoporosis. You can also work diligently to maintain excellent oral hygiene and keep gum disease at bay.
- Implant failure is rare. Dental implants tend to have a high success rate overall. You may not be able to control menopause as one of your risk factors, but you can manage other potential risk factors. For example, you can avoid tobacco use and visit your general dentist for regular preventive care.
- Every case is different. You cannot know for sure whether dental implants are right for you until you have consulted with a qualified implant provider. Countless postmenopausal women have enjoyed successful tooth replacement.
- Dental implants have big benefits. Dental implants can help to keep your jawbone whole and healthy after tooth loss. They can also contribute to heightened confidence, the ability to eat a balanced diet, and more.
Although menopause presents challenges that might affect how well your body accepts dental implants, it does not mean that you should not choose this form of tooth replacement. With the help of a well-trained oral surgeon, you may soon be the proud owner of a renewed smile.
Meet the Practice
Drs. Steve Koo, Thomas Weil, and William Shepard are board-certified oral and maxillofacial surgeons with many decades of combined experience. Dental implant placement is one of the many advanced services they provide. They have helped countless mature women to take advantage of dental implants. To find out how they may be able to serve you, contact our office at 713-597-7340.