Menopause is a milestone in a woman’s life. The hormonal changes that characterize it can affect overall health and daily life in numerous ways. If you are approaching menopause or have already passed it, you may be wondering about its effects on your oral health. More specifically, you might be curious about how it might affect your candidacy for dental implants. This blog post discusses that important topic.
Menopause and Bone Density
One of the hormones that declines during menopause is estrogen. Since estrogen plays an important role in bone health, low levels of it may increase the risk of osteoporosis, a condition characterized by a loss of bone density and strength. If osteoporosis becomes severe enough, it can adversely affect the jawbone to the point where it is not strong enough to support dental implants.
Menopause and Gum Disease
Dry mouth is a common symptom of menopause. Without with saliva to wash away harmful bacteria, menopausal and postmenopausal women may be at an increased risk of gum disease. Gum disease, an infection of the gum tissue, is a contraindication for dental implants because if it progresses far enough, it can destroy the tissue around an implant and ultimately lead to implant failure.
Menopause and Dental Implant Failure
A study that examined dental implant failure rates among patients who underwent treatment between 1982 and 2003 found that postmenopausal women tended to have a relatively high failure rate. Diabetics, smokers, and individuals who underwent head and neck radiation were also deemed to be high-risk.
Should Postmenopausal Women Get Dental Implants?
Although the above information may seem to paint a grim picture, you should not let it discourage you. If you are interested in getting dental implants, consult with a qualified dentist, such as Dr. Kalina. After he evaluates your oral health, he can determine whether dental implants are a fit for you. If you have certain risk factors, such as gum disease or a weakened jawbone, there may be ways to address such issues. For example, periodontal therapy is usually able to restore gum health. A bone graft may be able to fortify the jaw to the point where it can successfully support implants.
After you receive implants, it is important that you do all you can to protect them. Working with your general physician to maintain your bone health, as well as regularly visiting your dentist and keeping up with oral hygiene, can increase the chances that your replacement teeth will serve you well for the rest of your life.
Dental implants are a suitable treatment for most people who have suffered tooth loss, including postmenopausal women. With the proper precautions, you may be able to take advantage of this smile-transforming treatment.
Meet Dr. Kalina
Dr. James Kalina is a highly experienced dentist who partners with local specialists to provide start-to-finish dental implant services. If you are curious about your tooth replacement options, he would be pleased to speak with you. Contact our office at 507-625-2021.