Dental Implants Provide Relief from Oral Inflammation in Sjögren’s Patient, Case Report Shows

Vijaya Iyer, PhD avatar

by Vijaya Iyer, PhD |

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Dental implants with fitted crowns provided comfort and relieved inflammation in a Sjögren’s syndrome patient experiencing discomfort with removable dentures, according to a case report from dental surgeons in Japan.

The report, “Implant-supported Prostheses in Patient with Sjögren’s Syndrome: Clinical Report with 3-year Follow-up,” was published in the journal The Bulletin of Tokyo Dental College.

Patients with Sjögren’s syndrome experience dry eyes and mouth due to the autoimmune attack of the tear and salivary gland. Decreased saliva results in recurrent caries, pain in the mouth, and poorer dental conditions, often requiring tooth removal and use of dentures. Due to the lack of saliva, inflammation is also widespread even in patients with dentures.

Here, Japanese researchers report the case of a 50-year-old woman with Sjögren’s syndrome who visited the Tokyo Dental College Suidobashi Hospital with pain in her mouth and an inability to chew.

One year before the visit she had a root fracture for which she underwent tooth removal and had removable partial dentures placed. Despite several adjustments and a complete recovery following the procedure, she experienced pain while using the dentures.

The doctors recommended dental implants to help ease her pain and regain denture functionality. The American Academy of Implant Dentistry refers to dental implants as “artificial tooth roots” that help support artificial teeth (dentures) or crowns.

The surgery was performed in stages. First, the dental surgeon placed eight implants in the first and second molar tooth region in the upper and lower jaw bone. A four-month recovery period was provided to help with the healing of the tooth region.

She was advised to use an antimicrobial rinse four to five times a day during this time, referred to as the “non-loading” period.

Three months later, the second stage of the surgery was performed, and a temporary crown was placed. Doctors noticed a positive response to the temporary crown for three weeks with no tooth pain or problems with pronunciation. For the final step, the dental surgeon chose a screw-retained structure with zirconia crowns to make cleaning and access to the implant easier.

After implant surgery, the patient visited a dental hygienist every one to two months for the proper maintenance of the dental implant.

The patient did not report any complications, and no inflammation of the area surrounding the implant was noted at the three-year follow-up.

“These findings suggest that implant treatment in patients with [Sjögren’s syndrome] offers a viable alternative to removable partial dentures,” the study concluded.