Almost any type of surgical procedure can be jeopardized when you cannot adequately heal from it. Of course, healing is a perfectly natural process, but for those with an autoimmune disease, your ability to heal can be disrupted or diminished. So what are your options when you need a dental implant as a permanent tooth replacement but are also affected by an autoimmune disease?
1. Degrees of Severity
Having an autoimmune disease can put you at a disadvantage when it comes to your suitability to receive dental implants, but it won't necessarily exclude you. While conditions such as multiple sclerosis, type 1 diabetes, lupus, celiac disease, and HIV are all related to your autoimmune function, these conditions can affect the body in different ways. In short, don't assume that your autoimmune disease means you're unsuitable for a dental implant. You should consult your dentist to have a further discussion about the specifics of your case.
2. Osseointegration and Healing
The most significant issue you will face is with osseointegration, which is an essential aspect of dental implant placement. Once the implant bolt has been placed in your jaw, the surrounding tissues will fuse to it as part of the healing process, anchoring the implant and creating an artificial root structure for the prosthetic tooth. An autoimmune disease means that your body can attack its own tissues, meaning that healing is a slow process, and might not occur to the necessary degree for osseointegration to be successful. This can make dental implants difficult, although not impossible.
3. Other Options
Depending on the location of the tooth to be replaced, you might be a candidate for mini implants. These are more shallow than traditional dental implants but are not suitable for all teeth. For example, your molars and premolars are your chewing teeth and are subjected to more load-bearing pressure than your incisors—a mini implant won't always offer the necessary anchor to bear these loads.
Instead of traditional implants, you could also receive multiple mini implants to create a stable base for implant-supported dentures, although this is generally only utilized when multiple teeth need to be replaced. Some patients (even those with an autoimmune disease) might require bone grafting, which adds density to your jaw bone, creating a stable base for the implant and increasing your chances of successful osseointegration.
Autoimmune disease can complicate things, but it doesn't mean you don't have options. Contact a dentist to learn more about dental implants.