One of the benefits of dental implants is that almost everyone is a candidate. You’re never too old for dental implants. In general, if you’re healthy enough for surgery, you can get dental implants.

But there are some conditions that we have to take a pause and consider before recommending implants. One of these is anemia. If you have anemia, you may not be a candidate for dental implants. Iron deficiency anemia and dental treatment like dental implants aren’t always the best option.

red blood cells

Does Anemia Affect Teeth?

Yes. Pernicious anemia and tooth decay go hand in hand. If the teeth and gums don’t get the nutrients they need due to anemia, they can suffer. Iron deficiency and gum disease also go hand in hand. Those who suffer from anemia are more likely to suffer from gum disease and cavities. They also have an increased risk of infection that can lead to problems with the tongue like ulcers. If you follow a proper oral hygiene routine, you can save yourself from oral health consequences. These consequences may, unfortunately, prevent you from getting dental implants. This is why we strongly encourage you to stay on top of regular dental cleanings and other preventive treatments.

How Anemia Can Affect Dental Implants

Dental implants depend heavily on your body’s ability to heal bone. When your body heals the bone around the dental implants, the new bone binds with the implant to ensure the stability of the implant. If your body can’t heal the bone, then it can’t properly incorporate the dental implant.

Many types of anemia can affect your body’s ability to heal.

Vitamin deficiency anemia is the most common type of anemia. This occurs when your body has difficulty getting or maintaining enough iron in the blood. This can have serious consequences for dental implant patients. You may experience delayed healing, longer healing times, additional swelling, and more pain than other dental implant patients. You may be at higher risk for additional infections. And this can lead to an increased risk of dental implant failure. And there’s the possibility that you may have low bone density, to begin with.

Sickle cell anemia occurs when your body produces red blood cells with a sickle shape rather than a circular one. These sickle cells are inefficient at carrying oxygen. With sickle cell anemia, you’re very likely to have deficient bone and have problems healing bone. This can make it hard to get dental implants successfully.

Aplastic anemia is a relatively rare form of the disease. It occurs when your body stops making enough red blood cells. Because this type of anemia can develop suddenly, you might not have the long-term consequences of anemia at the time of diagnosis.

Does Anemia Treatment Make a Difference?

Yes. In many cases, successfully treated and/or managed anemia won’t stop you from getting dental implants. For example, if you’ve managed your vitamin deficiency anemia, and you’re currently managing it well, you might still be a good candidate for dental implants – providing, of course, that you have adequate bone. Your doctor will likely give you antibiotics to help with infection-related directly to your surgery. You will have to be vigilant about future infections.

With sickle cell anemia, management is harder, but it can be attempted.

Aplastic anemia may not be as hard to manage. Although many fear that there could be a high level of risk, at least one case study shows that dental implants can be successful even if you have aplastic anemia. Since radiation therapy can sometimes be a step in treatment, it needs careful consideration.

What about You?

In the end, the only way to know whether you’re a candidate for dental implants is to talk to an implant dentist in person. An implant dentist can evaluate your oral health and consult with your doctor on your general health to determine whether you’re a good candidate or not.

To learn whether you’re a candidate for dental implants in Wilmington, NC, please call (910) 392-6060 today for an appointment with Dr. Michael Kuzma at Kuzma Advanced Dentistry.