Dental implants to replace dry mouth-associated missing teeth in Sjögren’s syndrome patients show high survival rates, low complications, and an improved quality of life in patients, according to a review of research going back to 1997.
The study, “Dental implants in Sjögren’s syndrome patients: A systematic review,” was published in the journal Plos One.
Sjogren’s syndrome is a chronic autoimmune disease that can occur solitarily – primary Sjogren’s syndrome – or in association with other autoimmune diseases, like lupus or rheumatoid arthritis – called secondary Sjogren’s syndrome.
Dry mouth and dry eyes are the most common symptoms of the disease. The impaired quantity and quality of saliva causes difficulty in talking, chewing, and tasting properly, affecting patients’ quality of life.
Oral health is also decreased, and the increasing number of teeth and gum problems often leads to a higher number of missing, rotten, and filled teeth. Dental implants, which replace both the lost natural tooth and its root, are commonly used to replace missing teeth in Sjogren’s syndrome patients.
However, these disease-related oral problems, as well as the immunosuppressive therapy that’s often used, may impair the success rate of dental implants in these patients. To date, there was no information about the global survival or success rates of dental implants in patients with Sjogren’s syndrome.
A team of researchers performed a systematic review of data regarding the survival, complications, and bone loss around dental implants, as well as the quality of life of Sjogren’s syndrome patients who received dental implants.
Their search resulted in six suitable studies, published from 1997 to 2016. The six studies involved 272 adult patients who received 357 dental implants.
The mean survival of patients after the dental implant was 94.6%, with the two largest studies reporting 97% and 95%, in a mean follow-up period of 3.97 years. Those rates are similar to the ones reported in two recent reviews of healthy patients after dental implant (96.5% and 95.3%).
The data also showed reduced bone loss around implants and low numbers of biological complications. Still, Sjogren’s syndrome patients had a higher frequency of gum bleeding and inflammation, as well as deterioration of the jaw bone supporting the implant, compared to those without the disease.
Quality of life, evaluated through questionnaires regarding masticatory (chewing) function, oral comfort, and satisfaction was found to be improved in patients after they received dental implants.
Not all studies reported the type of Sjogren’s syndrome in patients. Among the ones that did, the authors found no significant differences in the studied parameters between primary and secondary Sjogren’s syndrome.
Also, the review did not find clear associations between potential factors and implant failures.
The investigators noted that additional studies are needed to confirm these results, as they are based on just six studies. Future investigations are also needed to clarify the real influence of saliva in dental implant health.