Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic disease characterized by swollen and painful joints. RA is an autoimmune disease, which means it causes the immune system to attack healthy cells. Symptoms include swelling, pain, warmth, and stiffness in the joints; you may also develop fever and fatigue. See your doctor for a diagnosis if you develop such symptoms. There is no cure for the disease, but there are medications to manage the symptoms and help you live a productive life.
As a dental implant candidate who has RA, you aren't automatically excluded from getting the implants. However, you need to be aware of these two potential complications:
Difficulty with Oral Hygiene
If the disease has affected your hands and fingers, then you may have difficulties brushing and flossing your teeth. This is because you may find it difficult to hold a toothbrush or grasp a dental floss with your fingers. Obviously, this will lead to poor oral hygiene.
Unfortunately, impeccable oral hygiene is one of the requirements for a successful dental implant. Without good oral hygiene, you risk getting dental infections that may affect the bones around your implant and lead to its failure. Therefore, if your RA has progressed to the point where you can't clean your teeth on your own, you need to get the disease under control first or get assistance with your oral hygiene before getting an implant.
Effect of Medication on Implant
The second thing you need to be aware of is that some of the medications used for RA may not be good for your dental implant. As previously discussed, RA is an autoimmune disease that causes your body to attack itself. Therefore, some of the medications used in combating it work by suppressing the immune system. This is the same immune system you need to be strong to help with your dental implant treatment. When the RA medications weaken your immune system, they make you susceptible to different infections, including dental infections, and this can lead to dental implant failure.
The best way to deal with this problem is to tell your doctor about your desire for dental implants and tell your dentist about your RA. That way the two can coordinate to prevent the complications. For example, you may be given RA drugs with minimal effects on your immunity (and hence dental bones) until your implants integrate with your bones.
The discussions above show why your dentist needs to understand your medical history before giving you a dental implant. Therefore, don't hold back on any confirmed diseases or health symptoms when you go for a dental implant consultation. Give your dentist full information to help them craft a suitable treatment for you. For more information, contact local professionals like Gordon Dental.