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Rewinding the Years: Dental Care Tips for Older Adults


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Rewinding the Years: Dental Care Tips for Older Adults

Once my children were grown and on their own, I decided it was time to care of me. One of the first things I did was make an appointment with the dentist. I quickly discovered that years of not keeping up with my own dental care had taken a heavy toll on my teeth. Whereas I thought my teeth were just fine, the dentist pointed out several problems that were going to require a lot of work. When talking to friends, I found out that many of them were in the same boat. This blog is for people like me who just did not have time to keep up with their own dental care.

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How Rheumatoid Arthritis Can Complicate Your Implant Procedure

If you have rheumatoid arthritis, then you probably have experienced its common symptoms. They include painful or deformed joints, inflammation, redness, limited mobility, and morning stiffness. While these are some of the most common symptoms of this degenerative arthritic condition, there are other symptoms that may affect your mouth.

These can cause complications during and after your dental implant procedure, so it is important to discuss your condition with your dental implant treatment services professional prior to your procedure. Here are some ways rheumatoid arthritis can complicate your dental implant treatment and what you can do about them:

Oral Bone Destruction

Rheumatoid arthritis not only has the potential to destroy the bones and joints in your fingers, hips, and knees, but it can also damage the bones in your mouth that support your teeth. This can be problematic when your dentist implants the posts into your tooth sockets.

While you may not have problems during the actual implant procedure, you may develop problems with bone destruction and shifting of your implant rods as time goes by. Before you begin your dental implant procedure, make an appointment with your rheumatologist, who will evaluate your risk for bone destruction. 

Increased Risk for Infection

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder, and because of this, your immune function may not be optimal. This can raise your risk for infection after your implant surgery. Be sure to tell your dentist about your degenerative joint condition because he or she may recommend that you take a preventative course of antibiotics after your procedure.

This will help reduce your risk for a post-procedure bacterial infection. In addition, because rheumatoid arthritis and other autoimmune disorders can trigger systemic inflammation, you may have problems with gum inflammation and bleeding after your surgery.

The combination of gum inflammation and the anti-inflammatory medications you take for your arthritis may raise your risk for prolonged or uncontrollable bleeding during your procedure. When your dentist is aware of this, however, he or she will intervene at the first sign of abnormal bleeding so that you do not experience major blood loss from your mouth.

If you have rheumatoid arthritis or another autoimmune disorder, see both your rheumatologist and dentist on a regular basis. When these two health care professionals closely monitor your medical and dental health, you will be less likely to develop complications such as infection, bone and joint damage, excessive bleeding, systemic inflammation, and severe pain.