How Menopause can Affect Osseointegration
Dental implants are one of the best-known and most successful tooth replacement options. Unlike traditional dentures and other treatment options, they not only replace your teeth and restore their form and function to normal levels, but they also keep your jaw bone healthy. The success of dental implants hinges on a biological phenomenon known as osseointegration. But what is this process, and how does it work?
What is Osseointegration?
Before defining this difficult term, an explanation of the jaw’s structure is in order. In a healthy mouth, the tooth roots penetrate the jaw bone and stimulate it to keep it healthy. When a tooth is extracted or lost, the jaw bone underneath it loses that stimulation and begins to deteriorate. If nothing is done, the face can begin to sag as you age.
Dental implants come readily to mind as the traditional method for replacing lost teeth, but keep in mind that dentures rest on top of the gums, held in place by adhesive. They do not penetrate deep down. So while dentures might restore your appearance and allow you to eat certain foods again, they won’t and can’t address the problem of a decaying jaw bone. But dental implants will.
Dental Implants and Osseointegration
Dental implants consist of a metal post, an abutment, and a crown. The post is surgically inserted into the jaw bone, and the abutment is used to attach the prosthetic crown, which looks and functions just like a normal tooth.
The post is made of usually made of titanium (or a similar metal) because titanium is known for its biocompatibility. If metal is biocompatible, then the body will accept it and bond with it instead of rejecting and fighting as a foreign and hostile substance. Therefore, the jaw bone will bond with and eventually grow with the titanium post. Not only does this greatly increase implant stability, but the posts give the jaw bone the stimulation it needs to stay healthy, just as the original tooth roots once did.
This process is what is meant by osseointegration. But if osseointegration does not occur properly, then the risk of implant failure goes up.
How Does Menopause Affect Osseointegration?
A study published in September 2015 by Prz Menopauzalny investigated the effects of menopause on the osseointegration process. Some of the women in the study had undergone hormone replacement therapy (HRT), while others did not.
The study found that postmenopausal women had a higher rate of implant failure compared to premenopausal women. Postmenopausal women receiving HRT also saw their implants fail 7.3 percent more often than premenopausal women. Women who received HRT saw their implants succeed 75 percent of the time, while those who received no HRT had a 92.9 percent success rate.
Estrogen deficiency and qualitative bone changes brought on by menopause are probably the biggest factors affecting the risk of implant failure. While HRT substantially modifies the restorative capabilities of bone tissue, this study showed that HRT had no significant effect on implant success rates. The authors of the study even went so far as to suggest that estrogen replacement therapy can increase the risk of implant failure in maxillary implants by up to 41 percent.
In conclusion, the study proved that menopause hinders osseointegration and thus increases the rate of implant failure, and HRT during menopause does so even more. If you’re going through menopause and are considering having dental implant work done, we will have to take this into consideration during your consultation to determine whether or not you’re still a candidate.
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