Osteomyelitis: What It Is And Why It May Complicate Your Dental Implant Treatment

Not everybody is an ideal candidate for a dental implant. There are health or dental conditions that complicate the process and necessitate prior treatment before the implant procedure can be carried out. Osteomyelitis is a good example of such a condition.

What Is Osteomyelitis?

This is an infection of the bone of bone marrow. Although it is mostly caused by bacteria, it can also be caused by other germs, such as fungus.

How Do You Get the Disease?

The germs can get to your bone tissues via an open fracture or by contaminating your blood, which then carries them to the bone tissues. For example, if you fracture your jawbone in a car accident, the germs can pass through the fracture and cause osteomyelitis. The microorganisms can also get into your blood via open wounds, such as breaks on your skin, from which they can travel through your veins and reach your jawbone.

How Do You Prevent It?

Preventing osteomyelitis mainly involves preventing exposure to the offending germs. Here are a few specific measures that can help:

  • Avoid injuries that give germs easy access to your body.
  • Treat all wounds and fractures as soon as they occur to reduce your risk of exposure to germs that cause the disease.
  • Keep all wounds clean so they don't get infected.

How Does It Affect the Bones, and How Does That Affect Your Implant Treatment?

Osteomyelitis leads to inflammation of the affected tissues, which reduces blood flow to the bones. This reduces the amount of nourishment your bone and associated tissues get, and if the condition is not treated, the tissues can die. With time, your jawbone density may reduce to the point where it cannot support a dental implant. In that case, you will first have to undergo ridge modification (for correcting deformities in your jaw) before getting a dental implant.

Ridge modification involves lifting the gums to expose the bony defect, filling it up with natural or artificial bone, and closing up the incision. Your dentist then determines whether you can get the implant immediately or you have to wait (the waiting period usually ranges from four to 12 months) for the implant. The cost of ridge modification adds to your total treatment cost and also increases the duration of the treatment.

Hopefully, you won't discover osteomyelitis when you consult your dentist for a dental implant. Even if you have problems with your jawbone density, however, you can still get the implant. Just follow your dentist's instructions to the letter and all will be well. For more information about the process, contact a company like Mulberry St Family Dentistry.