In this post COVID-19 world, I wonder how quickly vitamin D will be highlighted as an important supplement for healthy bodies. It is essential in supporting a well functioning immune system and for dental health too!
How does this relate to teeth and dental implants?
Our success rate with dental implant placement these days is as high, (or higher), than any other facet of dental service we provide. Yet, the success rate is not 100%, in our office or any other. When we do have a failure, when bone doesn’t grab that implant as it should, everyone in the room is unhappy and wants to know why! If dentistry tells their patients the truth, sometimes we shrug our collective shoulders and admit we don’t always know.
Why pay attention to Vitamin D levels?
Having sufficient levels of Vitamin D is proving to be fairly critical to early implant success. Some studies have shown a 3X increased failure rate in a group that had insufficient Vitamin D. This particular vitamin is found in relatively few foods, and our best source is when sunlight hits our skin. But between poor diets and indoor jobs, up to 70% of our population is being shown to have deficient levels of Vitamin D. This deficiency is evidently limiting the amount of calcium uptake by our bodies, and calcium has long been known to be a critical factor in bone formation.
There are blood tests that could give dentists an indication of Vitamin D levels ahead of time, but the majority of our patients are not going to be excited about a trip to a blood lab prior to implant surgery. There are finger-prick type tests that our office may have to look into - but that doesn’t sound fun either. We could all just take a multi-vitamin to ensure our bodies are optimally fueled for healing.
I think the takeaway is this: healthy patients have better success rates with the challenge of healing, and risk of implant failure can be further minimized with adequate levels of Vitamin D. A multi-vitamin pretty well squashes this particular risk factor. We, dentists and patients, want to further minimize those few, puzzling failures? We might all benefit from healthy levels of Vitamin D, before placement of an implant, and during initial healing.
Articles for reference:
Spring Valley Dental Group, dentists delivering excellence in dentistry in the St. Louis Metro-East area of Illinois, (O'Fallon, Shiloh, Caseyville, Fairview Heights, Collinsville, Lebanon, Swansea, Mascoutah, Troy, and Belleville, IL).