For dental patients with missing teeth, dental implants are often touted as the best way to replace those teeth. Dental implants have numerous advantages over other tooth replacement options, like dentures and bridges. They're permanent, they won't slip out or become loose like dentures are prone to do, and they don't require filing down nearby healthy teeth the way bridges do. But what if you have a health condition like high blood pressure, diabetes, or heart disease? These conditions can restrict many types of procedures for patients, so you may be wondering how your condition will affect your ability to get dental implants.
Here's what you need to know.
High Blood Pressure
If you suffer from hypertension, also known as high blood pressure, you'll be happy to discover you can still get dental implants to replace missing teeth. However, there are a few things you need to watch out for. To begin with, make sure the dentist or oral surgeon who will be implanting your new teeth is aware of any medication you might be on to control your hypertension. The medication you're taking affects what kind of anesthesia your dentist can give during the procedure.
You may also want to ask your dentist to prescribe an anti-anxiety medication to be taken the night before or in the hours before the procedure. Anxiety significantly affects blood pressure, and taking steps to control it ahead of time prevents dangerous spikes in blood pressure.
Finally, be prepared to schedule more frequent dental checkups after the procedure than patients who do not have hypertension. High blood pressure medications can cause dry mouth or gum swelling, making it harder for you to keep your teeth as clean as they should be. Extra dentist visits can help keep this problem under control and preserve the health of your implants and natural teeth.
Patients who have heart conditions are often prescribed anticoagulants, like warfarin. Warfarin thins the blood to help reduce the chance of thromboembolisms, but it also makes excessive bleeding more likely during a surgical procedure. So, the question for dental patients with heart disease is whether it's safe to have a dental procedure while taking an anticoagulant or if they must discontinue the medication before surgery, putting themselves at risk for a thromboembolism.
A new, less invasive dental implant procedure may provide the safest answer. The new flapless implant technique has shown promise for providing patients taking anticoagulants with a safe way to get dental implants. Patients getting the flapless implant procedure did not need to discontinue their medication and did not show any signs of excessive bleeding in testing. If you have a heart condition and you're interested in implants, ask your dentist if they provide flapless dental implants.
In the past, it was thought patients with uncontrolled or difficult to control diabetes were at higher risk of implant failure due to elevated blood sugar. Diabetic patients also experience other manifestations of their conditions that could potentially compromise dental implants, including a higher risk of infection and delayed wound healing.
However, the latest studies have failed to find a link between diabetes and implant failure. Even in patients with uncontrolled diabetes, the risk of failure after one year was not any higher than that of patients without diabetes or with well-controlled diabetes. That means diabetic patients who might previously have been warned against implants can now consider them a valid, safe, tooth replacement option.
If you've been delaying asking your dentist about dental implants because of one of these or some other health condition, now is the time to ask. You may be pleasantly surprised to find out that implants are a possibility for you as well.Share
16 January 2015