Dental implants are a safe and effective tooth replacement option if you have osteoporosis.

Osteoporosis can occur when your bone density decreases. Your bones may become weaker and more prone to breaking. This can sometimes occur during postmenopause due to the natural decline in estrogen levels, a hormone that helps cells generate new bones.

Dental implants are a tooth replacement option that involves having an oral surgeon insert an artificial tooth root into your jawbone. The implant is typically made of titanium or zirconium oxide, which are different types of metals.

After the surgeon inserts the implant, they will attach a prosthetic tooth to it, creating a replacement for the missing tooth. After surgery, your bone will naturally grow around the implant and form a stable joint.

A 2017 research review confirmed the safety of dental implants if you have osteoporosis, though with any procedure, there are some risks to consider.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) notes the following risks of dental implants:

  • injury to surrounding tissues or teeth
  • inadequate biting function
  • sensation like you have a loose tooth
  • infection

Before considering dental implant surgery, it’s important to talk with your dentist or oral surgeon to determine if it’s the right procedure for you. They can assess your bone density and overall health to see if you’re a good candidate for the procedure.

How does osteoporosis affect dental implants?

Osteoporosis can affect the overall stability of dental implants, according to a 2020 study. Reductions in bone density may lead to a more unstable dental implant, which could result in implant failure.

While your bone may successfully grow around the implant and anchor it into place, it may not be secure enough or hold up to chewing long term.

The ability of your bone to integrate with the implant is important for dental implant success, but it’s unclear if osteoporosis-related bone loss affects the longevity of the implant.

A 2017 review of 15 studies concluded that osteoporosis didn’t result in greater rates of implant failure. However, osteoporosis did result in greater bone loss around the implant itself. This suggests that the implant was less stable, though still successful.

How much bone loss is too much for implants?

Currently, there are no specific guidelines that state a certain amount of bone loss is too much for implant surgery. If you have osteoporosis, it’s likely that you’ll be approved for the implant surgery regardless of its severity, research from 2017 suggests.

Bisphosphonates are a class of medications used to treat osteoporosis. They work by slowing down bone loss and increasing bone density. While bisphosphonates are considered safe, it’s unclear whether they can affect the success of dental implants.

One risk of bisphosphonates is a condition called osteonecrosis of the jaw, which is a potentially serious condition that may result in the destruction of your jawbone.

If you’re receiving intravenous bisphosphonate therapy, you may be at an increased risk for implant failure. Research from 2016 indicated that intravenous bisphosphonates were associated with a greater risk of implant failure, but more research is needed to confirm these findings.

For this reason, it’s important to tell your dentist or oral surgeon if you’re taking bisphosphonates.

Bone grafting is a surgical procedure that involves adding bone or a bone-like material to your jawbone to increase its density. This procedure provides a stable base for dental implants to become firmly set in your jawbone.

Whether or not bone grafting is necessary depends on the severity of the bone loss in your jawbone. If there isn’t enough bone density to support the implant, bone grafting may be necessary.

Imaging and bone density scans will determine if you need a bone graft. According to research from 2021, up to 50% of all dental implant surgeries require a bone graft.

If your dental implant was not successful, your dentist or oral surgeon will evaluate why and determine the best course of action moving forward.

In some cases, the implant may need to be removed, and a new implant may be inserted after a healing period. In other cases, additional procedures, such as bone grafting, may be necessary to improve the success of the new implant.

Dental implants are generally considered a safe and effective tooth replacement option if you have osteoporosis. Still, more research is needed to confirm the long-term effectiveness of implants, especially with osteoporosis.

It’s crucial to work with a skilled and experienced dentist or oral surgeon who can assess your needs and determine the best treatment option for you.