Lupus And Dental Implants - Understanding Infections Risks

If you want to perfect your smile after a decay issue or an accident has resulted in the loss of one of your teeth, then dental implantation may be an option. Dental implants can both look and feel like the other teeth in your mouth. However, if you have a disease like lupus, then you may have some additional complications during the implant process. Learn about some infection complications and how you can best keep them at bay by reading this article.

Sjögren's Syndrome 

Sjögren's syndrome is a type of disorder that occurs in conjunction with certain diseases, and it is likely an issue if you have lupus. The syndrome involves damage to the mucous membranes around your eyes and mouth. These membranes are responsible for creating both tears and saliva, and this results in both a dry mouth and dry eyes. Unfortunately, a dry mouth can allow gum infections to form, because saliva works to flush the bacteria out of the mouth. The fluids also help to maintain a constant pH that is as close to neutral as possible. Bacteria tend to flourish in acidic environments and the acids can also destroy the soft mouth tissues. The increase in bacterial activity and the acidic environment in the mouth can lead to gum infections.

An infection may cause the dental implant to fail. Inflammation will occur and the gums will be unable to heal around the incision site. When this happens, the jawbone will not be covered by the soft tissues properly and this may result in osteonecrosis or bone death.

Reducing the Issue

If you have lupus and Sjögren's syndrome, then you may be able to keep your mouth moist after dental implant surgery by simply sipping on water throughout the day. If this is not helpful, then you can ask your physician or implant specialist to prescribe a medication for you. Pilocarpine is one possible medication that can be provided to you, and it will stimulate the production of saliva. However, it can also cause you to produce a great deal more sweat, so make sure you are aware of this. Also, think about taking the medicine only while the dental implant heals. 

Steroidal Use

Many people with lupus are asked to take corticosteroids to suppress the natural inflammation response of the body. These medications also work to suppress the immune system. This helps with the treatment of the disease, because the body attacks its own tissues. Specifically, this is caused by the improper function of the autoimmune system within the body.

Unfortunately, corticosteroids interfere with the normal functions of the immune system as well. This means that your body will not fight off slight infections that may occur across the gums after a dental implant surgery. The result is a more serious infection, osteonecrosis, or dental implant failure.

Reducing the Issue

Your physician may ask you to stop taking taking corticosteroids for some time both before and after your implant operation. This will need to occur when symptoms have gone into at least partial remission, and your oral surgeon may ask you to stay away from things that may trigger a flare up. You will need to make sure that you do not start any new medications, supplements, or herbal remedies. Stress also should be reduced, and you will need to stay out of the sun. 

Unfortunately, any type of infection can also cause a lupus flare up, so your dentist will likely provide you with a prescription antimicrobial mouthwash to reduce these concerns. These mouthwashes will help to reduce both bacterial and fungal microorganisms in the mouth. For more info, talk to your dentist.