Dental implants are highly sophisticated and permanent solutions for people who are struggling with missing teeth. The treatment process takes a few months, but appointments are relatively quick and do not require general anesthesia.
However, early studies looking into the associations of dental implant failure and Vitamin D deficiency seem to support the idea that people with this deficiency are at a greater risk of implant complications and failure. Here’s what this may mean for you:
The Role of Vitamin D in The Body
Vitamin D is well-known as the “sunshine” vitamin, as your body naturally produces it in response to sunlight. Most people can easily obtain a healthy level of Vitamin D with less than an hour of sun exposure during the week, although darker skin tones may need up to three hours per week.
Vitamin D is used in many processes throughout the body, including the production of new cells, creating blood vessels, boosting immunity, and differentiating cells. Nearly all of these processes are involved in dental implant procedures, as healing often involves creating new cells and healing injured tissue. This creates a natural link between Vitamin D deficiency and various medical procedures, including dental implants, that scientists are looking into.
The Effect of Vitamin D Deficiency
Your chance of being Vitamin D-deficient increases with age. Over 40% of adults in the US have Vitamin D deficiency, with higher rates in people of color and those over the age of 60. As many patients seeking dental implants are elderly, this poses a risk of failure to a key population of users.
People lacking Vitamin D are nearly five times more likely to experience implant failure—11% failure rate compared to just under 3% for non-deficient implant patients. Although the science is still determining the exact cause, this could be due to the fact that Vitamin D may hinder the integration of bone tissue into the implant, causing it to never fully attach to the jaw.
What Should I Do?
If you know or suspect you may be Vitamin D-deficient, there are steps you can take to boost these levels, especially before undergoing a surgical procedure like dental implants. One obvious way is to simply get out in the sun more often. However, this may not be a viable option for everyone, which is why it’s good news that Vitamin D can be found in various foods and drinks, including:
- Spinach and other leafy greens
- Fish such as salmon and tuna
If you are concerned about a Vitamin D deficiency, you can also let Dr. Zwier know during a consultation about getting dental implants, prior to the procedure. He can prescribe a treatment leading up to the procedure to ensure your Vitamin D levels stay steady and high as you undergo the implant process.
Dental Implants in Grand Rapids, MI
At the end of the day, dental implant procedures are usually highly successful, in over 97% of cases. However, certain risk factors including Vitamin D deficiency can complicate the procedure, so it’s always important to have a dentist who’s thorough and honest with you. That’s why patients choose Dr. Peter Zwier for dental implants and beyond in Grand Rapids, and why you can too. Schedule a consultation to start your dental implants process today by calling our office or contacting us online.