Most women go through a major hormonal shift when they are in their late 40s or early 50s. This change, known as menopause, is a natural and healthy part of the life cycle of biological females. However, it can cause a number of undesirable symptoms. It might even affect your oral health and that of your replacement teeth. How might menopause affect dental implants? This blog post explains what you should know.
Menopause and Oral Health
The drop in estrogen and other hormonal changes that come with menopause can affect a woman’s oral health in a few different ways:
- Greater risk of periodontal (gum) disease. Gum disease, which is a leading cause of tooth loss, tends to be much more common in postmenopausal women.
- Heightened risk of dry mouth. Without an adequate amount of saliva, women may be more likely to develop bad breath and oral infections.
- Bone loss. Osteoporosis is much more likely to occur after menopause. Unfortunately, it can weaken the jawbone and contribute to tooth loss.
Dental Implants for Postmenopausal Women
The abovementioned oral health issues can increase the risk of dental implant failure. For example, peri-implantitis is a type of gum disease that eats away at the tissues around a dental implant. Dry mouth can also contribute to this issue. A weak jawbone may compromise a dental implant’s base of support.
That might sound pretty dire, but there is good news! If you are concerned that menopause might affect your body’s ability to support dental implants, talk to your oral surgeon/dentist and your primary care practitioner. They will clearly explain the risks you are facing and help you manage them. Whether you already have dental implants or are thinking about getting them, there is a strong chance that you could enjoy beautiful, strong replacement teeth for the rest of your life.
Lowering the Risk of Dental Implant Failure
Here are some steps that your dental/medical team might recommend for you to reduce the risk of dental implant failure:
- Consider starting hormone replacement therapy (HRT). One study found that women using HRT have a 24% lower risk of serious gum disease.
- Stick to a thorough oral hygiene routine. Your general dentist or oral surgeon can coach you on the steps you can take to combat harmful oral bacteria.
- Care for your bone health. Eating a calcium-rich diet, staying physically active, and taking appropriate medications may prevent/manage osteoporosis. You should also limit your alcohol intake because it may interfere with bone formation.
Menopause might affect dental implants, but that does not mean you are doomed to a toothless smile. Most menopausal women with missing teeth can enjoy this strong and reliable form of tooth replacement.
Meet the Practice
Drs. Steve Koo, Thomas Weil, and William Shepard are proud to be the board-certified oral surgeons at Piney Point Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery in Houston. Along with our talented support team, they provide a broad range of dental implant services. We welcome mature women who are concerned about tooth loss and menopause to talk to us about possible treatment options. Contact our office at 713-783-5560.