Jawbone Disorders That Can Complicate Implant Surgery

Dental implants can transform your smile, correct an uneven bite, and may even decrease the incidence of bruxism, or tooth grinding. The dental implant procedure can take months, and for you to achieve optimal results, you'll need to make sure that your jawbones are healthy. Here are some jawbone disorders that need to be treated before the dental implant procedure can be initiated.


Osteonecrosis of the jawbone is when your jawbone or the cells of your jawbone die or become necrotic. If left untreated, the bone will not get the blood supply it needs to stay healthy, and because of this, the bone tissue may not be compatible with dental hardware such as implant rods. If you have osteonecrosis of the jaw, your dentist will be unable to place the implant rods into your jawbone. If the rods are implanted in the osteonecrotic jaw, the bone may shatter and you may be at risk for a severe infection.

Women who take medications to treat osteoporosis may be at a greater risk for developing osteonecrosis of the jaw than women who do not take the medication. The administration of antibiotics, stopping bisphosphonate therapy, and a surgical intervention known as debridement may treat osteonecrosis, resulting in complete healing. Once osteonecrosis is effectively treated, your dentist can then begin your implant procedure.

Inflammatory Arthritis

Inflammatory arthritis is another condition that can affect your jaw. It is an autoimmune disorder that causes systemic inflammation. Rheumatoid arthritis is a type of inflammatory arthritis, which not only causes joint pain, inflammation, and stiffness, but it may also lead to fatigue, weakness, headaches, depression, and suppressed immunity. This condition can cause significant pain and swelling of the joints, including the jaw joints.

If you have dental implants and experience a rheumatoid flare, you may experience jaw pain and stiffness, which may impair your chewing ability. If you have inflammatory arthritis, see your rheumatologist regularly.

Anti-inflammatory medications, cortisone injections, and medications known as biologics can help improve your symptoms. Maintaining a healthy weight can also help improve your symptoms because some doctors think that obesity can further promote systemic inflammation, joint, and jaw pain. When inflammatory arthritic conditions are well-managed, disease progression can be slowed.

If you have osteonecrosis or inflammatory arthritis, work with both your physician and dentist. Once your condition is well-managed and you are deemed asymptomatic, your dentist can initiate your dental implant treatment.