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Osteoporosis is a disease of bones that leads to a decreased density of bone and subsequent increase in risk of fracture. Osteoporosis causes bones to become weak and brittle. Osteoporosis-related fractures most commonly occur in the hip, wrist or spine.

Osteoporosis affects millions of people all over the world. It affects men and women of all races. Women are 4x more likely to develop osteoporosis. Research has shown that post-menopausal white and Asian women are at highest risk. Medications, healthy diet and weight-bearing exercise can help prevent bone loss and strengthen already weak bones. There is recent research showing that women who drink wine in moderation tend to have higher bone density than those who abstain from alcohol.

How Do I Know If Dental Implants Are An Option?

The first step is to get your osteoporosis under control and limit the further effects of the disease. This includes seeing a physician to prescribe the proper medications, diet, and exercise routine. The next step is to see your implant dentist for a full evaluation. This evaluation will include your overall health, your oral health, as well as the degree of your osteoporosis.

Some considerations before having dental implants placed include:

-State Of Oral Health. A major factor in the failure of dental implants is the presence of periodontal disease. With a patient already being compromised with osteoporosis this becomes doubly important that the patient be periodontal disease free.

-Strength, Density, And Volume Of Bone Tissue. You need to have some good quality bone left to have an implant last, healing will be prolonged, so volume of bone is extremely important.

-Medications. This includes medications you are taking for osteoporosis as well as other medications which could counteract those medications. Bisphosphanates have been long known to keep the body from reabsorbing bone tissue, but they also appear to affect your ability to heal after a dental implant procedure. Biphosphonates can increase the risk of biphosphonate-induced osteonecrosis of the jaw (also called BONJ). When BONJ occurs, the bone tissue actually begins to die due to inadequate blood supply.

-Is The Patient A Smoker? Smoking has long been a failure factor in dental implants as well as bone loss. Nicotine is a vaso constrictor so blood supply to the bones in the jaw can be compromised.

-Presence Of Systemic Disease. This can include a decreased immune system or diabetes. Good health is important for good healing.

If you have been diagnosed with osteoporosis, dental implants may still be an option. If osteoporosis has affected other parts of your body, it might not necessarily have caused decrease in jawbone mass or breakdown of these tissues. Recent research (International Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial Implants, Vol 21: 349) has shown a lowered success rate in patients with osteoporosis but the difference was less than 2%. The general success rate for dental implants is about 97% whereas the success rate in this limited study was 95%. The study also showed that bone grafting was successful as well.

Conclusion

Dental implants have long been the treatment of choice for tooth loss. For those who have been told it is not an option the effects can be devastating. The recent research gives hope to those who previously were told that it was not an option. Each individual needs to be evaluated on a case by case basis taking all factors into account before delving into placement of dental implants. If you are missing teeth or about to lose them, contact your dentist for a dental implant evaluation.

Dental implants are widely spread throughout dentistry and have become mainstream for many patients. In the past, patients were presented other options…go without a tooth or teeth, wear a removable denture, or have a cementable bridge made.Dental implants have allowed for a great additional option which does not cut down existing teeth, and is strong and unmovable. Unfortunately, many of us forget that dental implants need to be cared for and maintained just like  natural teeth.

What Are Dental Implants?

Dental implants are an artificial tooth root (usually made of titanium) that a periodontist or oral surgeon places into your jaw to support restorations that resemble a tooth or group of teeth. Dental implants can replace a single tooth, support  a bridge, or support a denture (making it more comfortable and secure).

Dental implants are an ideal option for people in generally good oral health who have lost a tooth or teeth due to periodontal disease, injury, fracture or decay. Dental implants are actually more tooth saving than traditional crowns and bridges, since dental implants do not cut down healthy teeth or rely on adjacent teeth for support.

Sufficient bone, and good overall health will give you the best prognosis for ideal oseointegration, (the way bone fills in around the implant for strength). Dental implants are intimately connected with the underlying bone and gum tissues in the mouth. So, proper fit, good occlusion, and excellent oral hygiene are necessary for long term success. With technique and material advances, dental bone grafts are now more successful than ever and can be used to augment your natural bone. Periodontal disease, diabetes, bleeding problems, etc. can cause difficulty in placement, healing and longevity of the dental implants. Be upfront with your dentist regarding health issues so that the proper steps can be taken to give you the highest chance of success. There is an increased risk of failure in patients who are smokers. For this reason, dental implants are frequently placed only after a patient has stopped smoking.

Top Tips For Caring For Your Dental Implants

-Toothbrushing. Usual toothbrushing applies. It is recommended that you brush twice a day but it is even more beneficial to brush after every meal if that is possible.

-Flossing. Yes, flossing is important even with dental implants. Flossing is able to clean around the dental implants along the gum line. Just because the dental implants cannot get tooth decay it does not mean you cannot lose them. Bone loss is still possible around the dental implants which can lead to their loss.

-Maintain Regular Dental Visits.  Dental implants should be cleaned with different types of dental instruments as not to scratch the surface. They should again not be cleaned with ultrasonic or vibrating dental instruments of any kind. It is important to examine the dental implants at least once per year along with your regular professional cleaning schedule. Your dentist will evaluate the bone levels along with the soft tissues and occlusion. The important takeaway here is to have frequent examinations to catch any issues that might arise early enough so proper corrections can take place.

-Use A WaterPik. A great way to clean around dental implants is to use WaterPik.  The WaterPik is a water spray that cleans in between and around the teeth. But keep in mind again too much pressure may cause damage to the pocket so keep it at the lowest level possible. Recent studies have shown the WaterPik to remove up to 145% more debris than regular dental floss alone. Periogen in the waterpik can help remove tartar buildup around implants making it easier to keep them clean.

-Do Not Smoke. Smoking has been known to decrease oxygen flow to the gum tissues. This results in delayed healing, deterioration of the oral tissues, and bone loss. Bone loss and inflammation will cause your implant to loosen and fall out. If you want to protect your investment, do not smoke.

-Avoid Extremely Hot Liquids. Dental implants are made of metal and metal has ability to retain heat more readily than our oral tissues. If you drink extremely hot liquids, the metal of the dental implant  may heat up from the liquid and stay hot. The heat may cause a burning of a thin layer of cells around the implant. With repeated small damages this may cause inflammation around the implant. This is not backed by research, but is worth mentioning.

Caring For Dental Implants Conclusion

Just like your natural teeth, dental implants should be maintained if you wish to keep them. With proper maintenance, both at home and in the dental office, dental implants can last a lifetime. Dental implants can strengthen, and enhance your smile for years to come.

As we are in the middle of the Holiday season there are lots of tempting treats to pick on. Most are okay in moderation but some are likely to create problems for your dental health. Issues that could be created include tooth decay and even fractured teeth. Below are a listing of some to be careful of:

1. Popcorn. An old favorite usually enjoyed at the movies but around holiday time regular old popcorn becomes coated in caramel. Normally popcorn presents challenges for teeth due to biting on popcorn kernels and popcorn husks getting stuck between teeth. Those pesky popcorn kernels have been known to cause broken teeth and fracture fillings. Add the caramel and it is a recipe for disaster as the caramel masks the kernels and sticks in and around your teeth. This can break a tooth, or create an environment ripe for development of tooth decay. So think twice and beware if  indulging in this holiday favorite.

2. Dried Fruit. Seems like this would be a healthy snack but the sugars in the dried fruit are concentrated and their dry texture makes them stick longer to teeth. This allows acid producing bacteria in your mouth to have a chance to work on your tooth enamel. Be smart, and floss after or chose fresh fruit instead.

3. White Flour Crackers. We love these crackers with cheese spreads as a pre holiday meal snack. Did you know the bleached white flour turns almost immediately into sugar, which is food for the bacteria in your mouth to create an acid filled environment for tooth decay. Choose whole grain versions of these favorite crackers for better dental health as well as general health.

4. Candy Canes. A traditional favorite that can also cause fractures to teeth if you choose to bite into them. Sucking on hard candy makes the sugar acids linger longer in your mouth. Break off a small piece, and drink water after.

5. Christmas cookies and fudge.These are hard to pass up, especially at a party! Remember that very high sugar content, white flour and the stickiness are the contributors to tooth decay. Try eating some carrots or celery directly after you partake in these sweet treats.

6. Peanut brittle. Some peanut brittle is harder or stickier than others. You can pull out a crown or filling or break a tooth. Try moistening a small piece in your mouth to soften it before chewing. You will certainly need to floss after this snack!

Dental Hygiene Tips for Holidays

-Drink Water. Plenty of it to swish and rinse your mouth.This will reduce the acid producing sugars and food debris from holiday snacking.

-Crunch on raw veggies. They will help clear the stickiness and stimulate salivary flow.

-Brush and Floss After Snacking. Brushing and flossing after snacking will neutralize the acid build up and not allow the tooth enamel to be broken down.

Enjoy the Holidays, just use your judgement to make good choices. You can still eat the special foods you love, just do it wisely. Remember, smiles are contagious, spread some holiday cheer with your beautiful smile!

Periodontal disease, comes in two forms gingivitis (reversible) and periodontitis (treatable but non reversible), is an infection of the gums caused by bacteria found in plaque. Recent studies have shown between 50-75% of people have some form of periodontal disease. More statistics show that approximately 30% of Americans are at an increased risk of developing periodontal disease due to genetic factors. These statistics show how much a health concern periodontal disease can be especially when you add in even more research showing periodontal disease links with systemic diseases.

Factors in Development of Periodontal Disease

-Poor Oral Hygiene.

-Tobacco Use.

-Medications.

-Teeth Grinding or Bruxism.

-Genetics.

-Poor Immune System

-Systemic disease.

The earliest and mildest stage of gum disease is gingivitis, where the gums redden and bleed easily. If not treated, inflammation of the tissue occurs, resulting in progression of  the disease to periodontitis. Gingivitis is characterized by receding gums, loose teeth, sores, sensitive gums, swollen gums, red or discolored gums, chronic bad breath, change in teeth alignment and teeth movement. The ultimate consequence of advanced periodontal disease is loss of teeth, which occurs when the tissue and bone supporting the tooth breaks down.

Periodontal disease was previously thought to affect only the teeth and gums, but researchers have discovered that periodontal disease influences the overall health and well-being of an individual. Research has shown that gum disease is a risk factor for many health conditions throughout the body. The gum disease causing bacteria that normally resides around the teeth can enter the blood stream and reach other organs and tissues in the body. Once there, the bacteria  release disease-causing agents that can lead to chronic inflammatory conditions that can include:

Diabetes Mellitus (or simply Diabetes)

Periodontal disease impairs the body’s ability to maintain blood sugar levels making you more prone to diabetes or making diabetic symptoms worse. On the other hand, diabetic patients are more likely to suffer from periodontal disease due to a weakened immune system, making it easier for them to catch infections, viruses, and exhibit delayed wound healing.

Stroke

According to scientific studies, gum disease increases the risk of stroke and coronary artery disease. A chronic infection of the gums can be directly related to an increased risk of reduced blood flow to the brain. Stroke and gum disease have similar risk factors and severe inflammation from periodontal disease increases the risks of having a stroke.

Heart Disease

Having periodontal disease puts you at higher risks of heart disease. Just like periodontal disease, heart disease is a chronic inflammatory disease which can be greatly impacted by periodontal disease. The more severe the periodontal infection, the higher the risk of developing heart conditions such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and acute coronary syndrome.

Respiratory Infections

When the bacteria in the plaque that causes gum disease goes to the lungs, it can cause respiratory diseases such as pneumonia. This explains the increased cases of pneumonia and other respiratory conditions in people with periodontal disease. This also is in conjunction with patients with lowered immune systems which makes it easier for them to be susceptible to these bacterial attacks.

Cancer

After considering risk factors for cancer including age, diabetes, smoking, BMI and more, experts found periodontal disease as a risk factor for lung, kidney, pancreatic, head, neck and hematologic cancers. Inflammation caused by periodontal disease is a major contributing factor to these cancers.

Bad Breath (Halitosis)

Periodontal disease can result in chronic bad breath which is more of a social issue than a medical one. Bacteria deposits on the tongue can also cause bad breath. This is one of the few conditions caused by periodontal disease that can be treated at home by practicing proper dental care to control halitosis (brushing, flossing, mouthrinses, tongue scraping).

Complications with Birth and Pregnancy

Periodontal disease in pregnant mothers has been shown to increase the risk of premature delivery and low birth weight. The  periodontal bacteria involved cause inflammation of the uterus and cervix. Periodontal disease also increases the risk of developing preeclampsia, a condition characterized by high blood pressure and excess protein.

Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis is a painful chronic inflammatory disease that affects the joints. The relationship between rheumatoid arthritis and periodontal disease goes both ways as each increases inflammation in the other. Patients with rheumatoid arthritis are faced with increased risks and severity of periodontal disease and treating periodontal disease can relieve some of the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis.

Conclusion

The best and easiest way to prevent and control periodontal disease is by maintaining a good oral hygiene program which includes regular dental visits as well as diligent at home care. This includes brushing, flossing, use of mouth rinse, and tongue scraping. Your health is important, taking care of your dental health is a great way to start taking care of your overall health.