These Medical Conditions Could Mean Trouble for Teeth

Many of our patients who have chronic illnesses are surprised to discover the enormous toll their condition takes on their teeth and gums. We often focus on symptoms that we consider most devastating while ignoring symptoms and complications that, while less severe, can nonetheless have a major impact on quality of life. Dr. Jim Erpenbach, a genera…

Many of our patients who have chronic illnesses are surprised to discover the enormous toll their condition takes on their teeth and gums. We often focus on symptoms that we consider most devastating while ignoring symptoms and complications that, while less severe, can nonetheless have a major impact on quality of life. Dr. Jim Erpenbach, a general dentist in Knoxville, TN, gives examples of common systemic illnesses and their impact on oral health.

Osteoporosis and the Jawbone

Osteoporosis, a condition that weakens bone and affects its density, can create oral health problems by compromising the integrity of the jawbone. Many of the medications prescribed to treat the disease can influence treatment outcomes of dental procedures. Patients who take these medications should always inform Dr. Erpenbach before undergoing any dental treatment, particularly those that involve either the connect tissues or bone. Modified treatment may be required for patients who require a tooth extraction or surgical implantation of dental implants. Otherwise, there is a higher risk for osteonecrosis, a rare but destructive condition capable of causing permanent damage to the jawbone.

Diabetes and Periodontal Disease

The vast majority of adults who lose their teeth will do so because of periodontal disease, a severe infection that attacks gum tissue and the bone holding teeth in place. The problem is especially common among adults who have been diagnosed with diabetes. Diabetes affects the body’s ability to restore and heal itself, which makes recovering from oral infections more difficult. Depending on how well the patient’s diabetes is controlled, Dr. Erpenbach may recommend dental exams and teeth cleaning more frequently than the standard once every six months.

Celiac Disease and Tooth Decay

Celiac disease is a digestive disorder that interferes with the body’s ability to absorb essential vitamins and nutrients from food. As a result, tooth enamel is deprived of these minerals, leaving the teeth weakened and susceptible to decay. The surface of the teeth may have unusual pits and grooves, and enamel shows yellow and brown discoloration. In some patients, the tooth enamel appears nearly translucent. Tooth decay and staining are especially common among celiac patients.

Has your medical condition affected your oral health? To learn more about our services, or to schedule an appointment with Dr. Jim Erpenbach, contact us at 865.240.2035. We welcome patients living in and around Knoxville and the greater metropolitan area.

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