How Can Rheumatoid Arthritis Affect Dental Implants?

March 20, 2024

Filed under: Uncategorized — drkoo @ 3:17 pm
Senior man with rheumatoid arthritis in his hands

One estimate states that around 1.5 million Americans suffer from rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Are you among them? If so, you may face a number of daily challenges due to swollen joints, pain, and limited mobility. Struggling with the consequences of tooth loss on top of RA can make matters even worse. Is it possible for you to rebuild a healthy, complete, and strong smile with dental implants? Let’s discuss how rheumatoid arthritis might affect your prospects for tooth replacement.

RA and Oral Hygiene

RA often affects its victims hands, making it difficult for them to grip a toothbrush and thoroughly floss their teeth. It is important to note that without excellent oral hygiene, your dental implants will be at a greatly increased risk of failure. An infection could sneak beneath your gumline, damage the tissue around your implants, and compromise their base of support.

Of course, you may still be able to stick to a thorough oral hygiene routine if you have a little help. For example, many people with RA find that switching from a manual toothbrush to an electric option makes it easier for them to clean their teeth. Similarly, trading in traditional floss for a water flosser might allow you to thoroughly remove debris from the tight spaces between your teeth.

RA Medications and Dental Implants

Because RA is classified as an autoimmune condition, most treatments for it work by suppressing the body’s immune response. Sadly, this can heighten the risk that you will develop an infection around your dental implants.

Other RA treatments can negatively affect bone density, which may make it difficult for an oral surgeon to insert your implants. It might also limit the ability of your jawbone to bond with your implants once they are in place.

It is important that you inform your oral surgeon about any medications you take. Based on your health and the state of your jawbone, it is possible that they can design a treatment plan that will allow you to get dental implants. That plan might include a bone graft to strengthen your jaw.

Should You Get Dental Implants if You Have RA?

Dental implants are the gold standard for tooth replacement. If you have missing teeth, you should certainly find out if you are a candidate for them. Your oral surgeon will consider your RA as just one of many factors that could affect your treatment plan. They will perform a thorough risk-rewards analysis before letting you know their recommendations for how you should move forward.

RA is not good for oral health and dental implants, but it does not automatically mean that you cannot rebuild a strong and functional smile! Talk to a qualified oral surgeon to learn about your options

Meet the Practice

Drs. Steve Koo, Thomas Weil, and William Shepard are the board-certified oral surgeons in our Houston office. Their extensive training and years of experience enable them to take on even the most complex dental implant cases, including those involving patients who have been diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis. To learn more about them and how they may be able to serve you, contact our practice at 713-597-7340.

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