Menopause results in many changes in the way a woman’s body works. Estrogen is a keystone hormone that serves to control and balance numerous other hormones and processes in the body, so when estrogen levels drop, a number of bodily functions change, including how bones are maintained. And anything that affects your bones can affect dental implants.
They may seem constant, but our bones are constantly changing in response to our demands on them. This is why exercise can help increase bone strength, and orthodontic treatments like Invisalign can move teeth by reshaping the jawbone around them. The process of bone changes are regulated by two types of cells, one which deposits bone and another which removes it.
When bones are growing, more bone is being deposited. When bones are in balance, about as much is being added to bones as is being taken away. However, after menopause, the balance shifts, and bone removal begins to happen at a faster rate than bone deposition. This can result in osteoporosis.
Along with other bones in the body, bone is lost in the jawbone. Some studies say that this can have a significant impact on dental implant success, increasing the failure rate to over 13%. That’s twice or more the failure rate for age-matched men and premenopausal women.
There is controversy about the role of estrogen replacement therapy (ERT) in preventing dental implant failure. Some studies say it can significantly reduce failure, dropping it to about 9%, while other studies say it doesn’t have an impact, and still others say it can actually increase risks.
There are different ways to approach the risks of dental implant failure for postmenopausal women. Two different studies show that taking oral bisphosphonates can improve the success rate of dental implants for postmenopausal women.
Bone grafts can be used to improve success rates for dental implants, too.
And once the implant has become fully integrated with the jawbone, it seems that menopause doesn’t lead to increased bone loss around the implant, so if you have dental implants already, you shouldn’t have to worry about them in the future.
Even with potentially increased failure rates for postmenopausal women, the success rate remains high in most cases, making dental implants a great treatment option for patients of all ages. If you would like to learn whether they are right for you, please call (310) 275-5325 for an appointment with a Beverly Hills implant dentist at Nicolas A. Ravon, DDS, MSD.