How To Prepare For A Dental Implant Procedure If You Have Rheumatoid Arthritis

29 April 2016
 Categories: Dentist, Articles


If you want a dental implant, then your dentist can work with you to discuss risk factors and healing issues that may arise during the lengthy tooth replacement process. This type of conversation may be quite extensive if you have an autoimmune disorder like rheumatoid arthritis. This illness may increase your risk of complications after the implant operation is completed. If you decide to go ahead with the implant operation, then there are some important things you should do in the months leading up to the procedure. To learn about a few, keep reading.

Invest In An Extensive Cleaning

Individuals who have rheumatoid arthritis have a greater chance of forming periodontal disease. In fact, you are eight times more likely to have swollen and infected gums than a person who does not have arthritis. If you have gum disease and go through a dental implant operation, then you are likely to develop a condition called peri-implantitis. This infection is also likely to develop if you have a disease, like rheumatoid arthritis, that affects the immune system. If you have red and swollen gums, then you will need to make sure that your gums are as healthy as possible before you undergo the implant operation.

To advance the health of your gums, make arrangements with your general dentist for a cleaning. During the cleaning, ask about advanced gum cleaning practices like deep scaling and root planing. Your dental professional may also prescribe a chlorhexidine mouthwash to help control and kill bacteria in the mouth to treat the gum disease.

Once your gum infection condition is controlled, make sure to clean your mouth completely every day. If the arthritis keeps your from gripping toothbrushes and floss normally, then look for dental health tools that are specifically made for people with arthritis. Angled toothbrushes with rounded ends are a good choice and so are water flossers.

Reduce Medication

If you take certain medications to control your rheumatoid arthritis symptoms, then some of these medications may cause healing complications. This is true if you take corticosteroids like prednisone. Prednisone helps to control the inflammatory response by suppressing the immune system. While this helps to keep the joints from swelling uncontrollably, the immune system is unable to fight off bacteria as well as it should. This can substantially increase your chances of forming an infection around your dental implant. Corticosteroid drugs can also cause bone loss and advanced osteoporosis. This can lead to bone healing issues after your implant procedure. 

If your rheumatoid arthritis condition is currently in remission, then you should speak with your physician about stopping the prednisone until after the implant area has had an opportunity to heal. Typically, you will need to be tapered off the medication over the course of several weeks. Work with your doctor to complete this tapering process safely before your scheduled operation. 

If you take a medication called Methotrexate, then you may need to stop taking this drug for a period as well. The medication can cause sores to form in the mouth that can increase your risk for oral infections. Also, the drug can have an impact on bone healing. Specifically, the medication stops new bone cells from forming around injured areas. This can lengthen the amount of time that it takes for the jaw to heal after implant surgery. Also, the medication may cause new bone to be less dense than it should be. This can reduce the strength of the implant.

Dental implants are possible if you have an autoimmune condition like rheumatoid arthritis. You will need to plan in advance for your operation though. Work with a dentist like Dale D. Lentz DDS to discuss all of the things that you should do to prepare for a successful implant procedure.