There are many causes of cavities and gum problems. One of them is an autoimmune disease known as Crohn's disease. This chronic inflammatory condition principally targets the intestines but can trigger problems in other parts of the body, such as the mouth, where it causes tooth cavities. Oral treatments may not be enough to prevent decay and damage, so increasingly, people are turning to dental implants.
Approximately half a million people in the United States have Crohn's disease. It can develop in people of any age but typically starts between the ages of 20 and 29.
Crohn's disease is an inflammatory bowel condition where parts of the digestive system become inflamed and lasts a lifetime. This sometimes painful and debilitating disease can involve different areas of the digestive tract, although most commonly, the small intestine is affected. Symptoms include weight loss, tiredness, stomach aches, cramps and diarrhea. The exact cause of the disease is unknown, but it's thought that several factors come into play, such as genes, smoking, a previous stomach bug and an abnormal balance of gut bacteria.
Although this condition primarily affects the digestive tract, it can also cause problems for the eyes, joints, skin and mouth.
Crohn's disease causes several problems in the mouth, primarily due to diarrhea. Here´s how.
The inflamed intestinal lining produces excess salt and water in the bowel, which leads to diarrhea. Passing looser and more frequent stools than normal leads to dehydration, which in turn causes dry mouth. And that's just the beginning of the oral problems. Having a dry mouth can lead to acid damage to the teeth, gums and bone, which in turn causes cavities. These are permanently damaged areas of the hard surface of teeth that can lead to infected, painful, discolored and broken teeth.
Crohn's disease also causes mouth ulcers known as canker sores that develop around the base of the gum. Researchers estimate that around 20 to 50 percent of people with Crohn's disease develop mouth ulcers at some point. The cause may be inflammation linked to the disease, side effects of medications used to treat it or mineral and vitamin deficiencies.
Other oral symptoms of Crohn's disease include:
Treatments for Crohn's disease include medicines to reduce digestive tract inflammation, medications to stop the inflammation from returning, and surgery to remove a small part of the digestive system. If you have oral cavities due to the condition, improved cleaning will not rectify the situation, although it may stop them from deteriorating. The best solution, in this case, is to have dental implant surgery.
Having Crohn’s disease does not prevent you from having dental implants to replace your broken, damaged or missing teeth, provided your gums and jawbone are healthy enough to receive the implants. During an initial consultation with your dental implant surgeon, they will examine your mouth and discuss your oral hygiene to determine the best way forward and whether there is anything that could affect the success of the implants.
While your natural teeth may suffer damage over time, dental implants can't get cavities. They look and feel like natural teeth and are designed to blend into your smile seamlessly. But unlike real teeth, they´re not made of natural materials, so they cannot decay. Therefore no matter the severity of your condition, your implants will remain unaffected.
Most dental implants on the market today are made from titanium. This is a naturally occurring metal with special properties that allow the jawbone to grow around the implant and connect to it.
Zirconia is another biocompatible material used to make dental implants. Zirconium implants are the preferred option if someone has an allergic reaction to titanium. Dental implants can also be made from a combination of zirconia and titanium.
While the implants will last and remain unaffected, it is important to look after your gums, regularly clean around the dental implant site or sites, and ensure you eat a nutritious diet with plenty of vitamins and minerals. That's because one other complication of Crohn's disease is gum inflammation which can adversely affect the tissue around the implant.
If you have Crohn's disease, you don't have to suffer from cavities. Dental implants are a simple, effective and long-lasting solution. Unlike other tooth replacement options, they don't have to be repaired or periodically replaced. They are designed to last the rest of your life.
If you have any questions about dental implants and Crohn's disease or want to schedule an appointment, please get in touch today! Contact us at (314) 936 3621 or make a booking online. We will fully explain the dental implant process and how you can have cavity-free teeth even if you have Crohn's disease.