Osteopenia: Protect Your Jaw Bones Before Dental Implant Surgery

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Osteopenia: Protect Your Jaw Bones Before Dental Implant Surgery

16 November 2015
 Categories: Dentist, Articles

If you want to replace your missing teeth with dental implants but recently discover that you have osteopenia, you may wonder if your condition will affect the stability of the implants. Osteopenia develops when your bones lose density and strength. The condition can place your dental implants at risk for failure if you don't have enough bone tissue to support them. Here's what you should know about osteopenia and what you can do to strengthen your jaw bone.

How Does Osteopenia Affect You?

When you have osteopenia, your bones can't absorb vitamin D, calcium and other bone-building minerals, because they can't make new cells fast enough to use up the minerals. As a result, your bones become brittle and weak. 

To replace most of the minerals your body loses to osteopenia, your doctor prescribes supplements. But the supplements may not be enough to strengthen your jaw in time for dental implant surgery, especially if you have significant bone loss in large areas of your body, such as your arms and legs. Larger areas of bone loss may absorb the supplements you take before they have a chance to repair the damage in your jaw.

In addition, your doctor may only prescribe supplements in low dosages to avoid creating other health issues, such as hypercalcemia. Having high dosages of calcium and other minerals in your body can make you sick, which will keep you from moving forward with your dental implant surgery. Dental implant surgery may fail if you have any type of serious infection or illness in your body.

In order to rebuild bone mass in your body and jaw, you need to do some weight and resistance training.

How Can Weight Training and Resistance Training Strengthen Your Jaw?

Although bike riding and swimming benefit your health, they aren't enough to strengthen your bones. A number of sources recommend that you perform weight training and other weight-bearing exercises to build strong bones.

Lifting light weights, performing flexibility exercises and using strength bands activate the cells in your bones so that they build bone tissue. The activation process occurs when you place stress, tension or weight on the muscles that support and attach to your bones. Your muscles essentially stimulate the cells in your bones to wake up and regenerate. The new cells travel to different areas of your body that have low bone density, including your jaw. 

It's a good idea that you start off slow during the first few weeks of your exercise plan. For example, you can take a brisk 10-minute walk around the block three times a week to build up your stamina. You can gradually increase your exercise sessions and times as your bones become stronger. You can ask your dentist to run periodic bone density tests on your jaw to see if your exercises improved your condition.

If you don't want to weight and resistance train, speak to your doctor and dentist right away. They may have better options you can use to build up your bones and jaw. For example, your doctor may suggest that you see a physical therapist, who can develop an exercise plan that works specifically for your unique needs.

Your dentist may want to use more advanced treatments to build up your jaw bone, such as bone grafting. Bone grafting requires placing natural or artificial bone tissue inside your jaw bone to increase its density. The bone grafting tissues not only replace the cells you already lost, they can stimulate the cells you have left to grow. 

If you need more information about your dental implant surgery or bone condition, contact your dentist for an appointment.