If you have arthritis, you might have a difficult time when it comes to things like brushing and flossing your pearly whites. And unfortunately, if your arthritis is affecting your oral hygiene habits, you’re at a much higher risk of developing a health issue that could lead to missing teeth. While missing teeth can be replaced with treatment options such as dental implants, your eligibility can actually be impacted by conditions such as arthritis. Keep reading to learn more about the link between rheumatoid arthritis and dental implants, along with some things you can do to prepare yourself for the surgery.
How Your Rheumatoid Arthritis Can Affect Dental Implants
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic condition that’s characterized by swollen, painful joints—so the connection that it has with dental implants might not seem very obvious at first. However, it’s the way in which arthritis affects your oral health that creates complications.
Dental implant success is heavily reliant on the patient maintaining excellent oral hygiene, in order for the implants to properly fuse with the jaw (osseointegration). But since it’s an autoimmune disease, RA can actually cause your immune system to attack healthy cells in your mouth! This can completely halt the osseointegration process; not only will your implant sites struggle to heal, but they’ll be at a much higher risk of infection.
Another way in which your RA can influence your dental implant candidacy is the negative effect is has on your overall mobility. This condition can make holding a toothbrush difficult, let alone using one! This can spell bad news for your oral health and in turn, your dental implants—an unclean mouth will almost always lead to implant failure!
It’s worth noting that the medication you use to manage your RA might also negatively impact your implant candidacy. Many treatments involve the suppression of the immune system, which also increases the risk of an infection developing around your implant sites.
Tips to Prepare You for Dental Implants
If you have rheumatoid arthritis, you aren’t automatically disqualified from receiving dental implants—but you’ll have to be mindful of a few different things. Of course, prioritizing your oral health is the best thing you can do to prepare yourself for dental implants. Here are some tips to help you out:
- Brush your teeth (and implants) twice a day for two minutes each time. Be sure that you’re employing the correct brushing technique.
- If your arthritis makes brushing difficult, you might consider using an electric toothbrush; they’re easier to operate and have been proven to clean teeth more effectively than their traditional counterparts.
- Don’t skip out on flossing; it’s just as important as brushing, especially when considering dental implants as it contributes towards gum health.
- Monitor your sugar intake to lower the risk of tooth decay, gum disease, and other issues that can compromise your oral health.
- Regularly visit your dentist for preventive care; these visits allow your dentist to identify underlying problems that might compromise your implants.
Your rheumatoid arthritis will inevitably make it more challenging to take care of your dental implants, but it’s not entirely impossible! That said, don’t hesitate to speak with your dentist about what you can do to prepare yourself for the treatment.
About the Practice
The team at Elmbrook Family Dental is honored to serve patients and families in the Brookfield, WI area. The practice proudly offers a wide range of services including tooth-restoration options such as dental implants. If you have any questions about dental implants or would like to schedule an appointment, you can contact the practice online or over the phone for assistance: (262) 923-7075.