Osteoporosis no obstacle for treatment with dental implants

The Journal of Dental Research recently published results of a 5-year study, which concludes that female osteoporosis patients can be treated with dental implants. The clinical outcome is expected to be as good as for non-osteoporotic women.

It is estimated that 1 out of 2 women over 50 years of age can expect bone fractures due to poor bone health, in other words osteoporosis. In order to reduce disease progression and new fractures, patients often receive medication that stabilizes the bone. Well-known adverse effects from such medication include osteonecrosis (bone cell death), which arises from teeth extractions and dental bone surgery, for example implant installation.

Good bone and tissue response after surgery

So far, oral surgeons have often hesitated to place dental implants in patients with known osteoporosis, on account of poor bone quality or the negative effects that the medication can cause in post-surgical healing. This caution has prevented many patients from receiving dental implants. Instead they have been forced to accept ill-fitting dentures, reduced self-esteem and poor oral quality of life in addition to the suffering caused by the osteoporosis disease itself.

This excessive precaution in dental implant surgery is no longer justifiable. Recent data indicates that patients with osteoporosis show similarly good results to a control group without osteoporosis. Dental implants with the nano-specific OsseoSpeed surface (Astra Tech Implant System) were evaluated after up to 5 years and the patients in the osteoporotic group showed similarly good bone and soft tissue response to the healthy control group. In both groups, the mean bone loss was only 0.09 mm overall. The patients in this study were diagnosed with osteoporosis but had not yet received medication against bone resorption (i.e. bisphosphonates).

High implant survival rate after 5 years

In the study, all implants had to osseointegrate fully during a healing period before the implants could be loaded with crowns and bridges. It was found that primary implant stability was lower in the osteoporotic group compared to the healthy group, but all implants were loaded. In all patients except one, the implants supported the prostheses at the end of the study.

The facts are retrieved from the original article by Temmerman A et al. A prospective, controlled, multicenter study to evaluate the clinical outcome of implant treatment in women with osteoporosis/osteopenia: 5-year results. J Dent Res 2018, E-pub Sep 11, doi: 10.1177/0022034518798804.