If you are thinking about getting dental implant surgery to enhance your smile or correct a chewing or misalignment problem, you'll need to take extra care during your recovery period if you have an autoimmune disorder. While it's not guaranteed that you'll experience autoimmune-related problems after your procedure, it's prudent to discuss your condition with your cosmetic dentist prior to your surgery date. Here are three ways autoimmune disorders can heighten the risks for post-procedural complications after dental implant surgery, and what you can do to minimize the risks:
Impaired Metabolic Rate
If you have hypothyroidism, or an under-active thyroid, your metabolism may slow down, which is why it is so important that you take your thyroid hormone replacement medication. When your metabolism slows, your circulation may be impaired, and, therefore, blood flow may be diminished to the surgical sites in your mouth. It is crucial that you have adequate blood flow circulating to your dental implant wounds in order to speed healing and to reduce the risk for infection.
Taking your thyroid medication helps regulate the metabolic process so that venous blood flow is brisk enough to to provide optimal circulation to the wounds in your oral cavity. Also, people with thyroid disease may have weaker immune systems, raising the risk for post-operative infections following dental implant surgery.
According to Medscape, "Patients with diabetes, hypertension, renal disease, thyroid disease, adrenal disease, or other organ disease must be treated and their disease controlled before tooth extraction." This is especially important in those seeking dental implant surgery because in most cases, multiple tooth extractions are performed.
It is very important to have adequate salivary flow inside your mouth when you are recover from your dental implant surgery. Saliva is instrumental in keeping oral infections at bay because it helps to wash away the microorganisms responsible for making you sick.
Certain autoimmune disorders can damage your salivary glands, resulting in a very dry mouth. If you suffer from a dry mouth, especially if it is accompanied by dry, gritty eyes, you may have an autoimmune disease known as Sjögren's syndrome.
Not only is saliva comprised of water, it also facilitates chewing, talking, and swallowing, protects your oral cavity from viral, bacterial, and yeast infections and contains important substances that protect against the development of carious teeth.
Oral Yeast Infections
Type 1, or juvenile diabetes, is an autoimmune disease that is usually diagnosed during childhood. People with diabetes are prone to oral yeast infections that cause white, bleeding patches to develop inside the mouth and throat. If not recognized and treated with the proper anti-fungal therapy, oral yeast infections can lead to a severe infection in one or more of your dental implant surgical sites.
Maintaining tight control over your blood sugar levels can help reduce the risk for oral infections. To help keep your blood glucose readings within normal limits, take your prescribed diabetic medications per your doctors orders, follow your therapeutic diet, get adequate exercise, and try to manage your stress.
If your cosmetic dentist determines that you have an oral yeast infection, your treatment may include a course of anti-fungal drugs and a medicated oral rinse or mouthwash to use as directed.
If you are considering dental implant surgery and have an autoimmune disorder, work with both a cosmetic dentist like Dr. Jerry F. Maymi & Associates and a primary care physician to develop a post-operative treatment plan that will help minimize your risks for infection and other complications. Early intervention of autoimmune conditions is not only essential to help reduce the risks for dental complications, but also in improving your general state of health and well-being.