If you have a disease like sickle cell anemia, then your doctor may inform you that it may not be wise to undergo elective surgical procedures. Complications are a concern, especially since about 25% of patients with sickle cell anemia will experience postoperative difficulties. These complications can include extensive blood clotting around surgical areas and the reduction in blood flow. Other issues can arise if you decide to go through a dental implant surgery. Keep reading to learn about them and how your oral professional may try to minimize or control these sorts of issues.
Sickle Cell And Dental Implant Complications
Dental implants are inserted into the jawbone and act as full and complete replacements of teeth. The implants are used in cases where natural teeth have been pulled or knocked out of the mouth. These implants are quite sturdy and strong, but their strength relies heavily on the way the bone heals after the implant root is secured. An opening must be drilled into the jaw, and the implant root is set in this hole. As the weeks pass after your implant surgery, spaces around the implant device fill in with new bone. The implant then becomes stuck in the jaw and becomes a permanent fixture of the mouth.
Good bone healing means that the jaw is able to create new bone cells that attach to the implant root. This sort of healing requires a great deal of nutrition and oxygen from the body, and these things are transported through the blood vessels that sit in the bone. These extremely small vessels will become injured during surgery as the drill bit is forced down into the tissue. If you have sickle cell anemia, the damage can result in clotting and blood vessels that die off instead of healing. If parts of the jaw do not receive the blood they need, then the tissues will also die. This is called osteonecrosis.
Osteonecrosis, or bone death, is a very painful condition. Not only will osteonecrosis cause your dental implant to fail, but you also will likely need surgery to remove the dead or dying part of the jaw. Bone grafts may be used to replace the bone based on the size and depth of the damage, but you probably will be unable to receive a new dental implant.
Preventing Implant Surgical Risks
Your dentist will work with you to see if your sickle cell condition is controlled enough that a dental implant surgery can be successfully completed. Previous osteonecrosis episodes, high blood pressure, and extensive vein and artery damage may preclude you from having the surgery. If your dentist feels as though you are a good candidate for dental implantation, an implant device may be chosen that requires a less-invasive surgery. Mini implants with much thinner roots may be offered. These devices require far less drilling in the mouth, which reduces bone cell and blood vessel damage.
Your oral surgeon may also suggest the use of a smooth post type of implant instead of a screw device. Screw roots need to be forced and twisted down into the bone. While this can secure the implant root more strongly, the screw devices cause more bone damage. Blades may be an option for you too.
Also, you may need to undergo blood transfusions before or after your surgery to reduce the concentration of sickle cells in the blood. If you have had surgery before, then this is a common practice to reduce surgical risks, and it is highly effective in reducing tissue and blood vessel damage. If blood transfusions are needed, then your implant procedure may be scheduled for completion in a hospital setting instead of a clinic or outpatient facility. This can typically be arranged with your surgeon. Keep in mind that this may increase the cost of your operation, so ask about potential cost increases before you schedule the procedure.
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