Can AIDS Patients Get Dental Implants? ToothHQ Dental Specialists, Dallas Fort Worth

People with acquired immune deficiency syndrome – AIDS – need dental care on a more frequent basis than those without it. This is because of the low white blood cell count that they experience throughout the disease. Since they now live longer, being able to provide them with dental implants could provide a better quality of life. An experiment was needed to determine if this was practical and to understand the dental implant success rate.

The Experiment

The experiment needed to find out the long-term effect of AIDS on implants. Due to a lack of other studies on the subject, a prospective cohort study was designed that would enable researchers to discover the success of dental implants over a five-year period. 

All of the participants in the study were over the age of 18 and had at least one missing tooth. There were 16 adults in the study, 12 of them were males, and four females. All of them had a white blood cell count (CD4) that was equal to or less than 200 (the normal range is from 500 to 1,500). All of the study subjects were currently on highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART), which is a mix of inhibitors. 

All of the adults received a total of 33 implants. After the implants were placed, none of the participants received any antibiotics. 

The Study Results

Three implants failed: two of them were in the front of the jaw and one in the back. All of the implants were uncovered for testing and completion of the abutment and crown after 151 days (average). Testing was performed at one week, four weeks, when uncovered, and then once a year for a total of five years. 

During the five-year study, the researchers considered the presence of infection, non-bony union, and lack of stability to be reasons for failure. Other factors included having exposed threads or having radiographic radiolucency – which indicates the presence of inflammatory bone lesions. 

The failure rate was higher than what is found among healthy adults. Healthy adults have a five to seven percent failure rate, whereas the patients with AIDS in this test had a 10 percent failure. 

Reason for the Test

There are a growing number of people with AIDS in America and the world. In the United States, about 1.1 million people are living with HIV today. In 2017, there were about 38,700 Americans who became infected with HIV. It is believed that about 15 percent of the total people infected are not aware of it. 

A survey of periodontists – those who perform implant surgery – revealed that about 50 percent of them provided their patients with anti-biotics after placing dental implants. When analyzing patients who were HIV positive and had AIDS, no evidence was found of an increased risk of developing an infection from complications.

One problem that HIV positive and AIDS patients have is post-operative sepsis. In a study of other dental procedures, it was found that only 2.2 to 4.8 percent of HIV patients had complications from dental procedures. This is slightly lower than HIV patients who had abdominal surgeries, who experienced postoperative sepsis. 

About Dental Implants

Dental implants continue to be the best way to replace missing teeth. Besides individual teeth, they can be used to support nearly any configuration of teeth. They can be used for single teeth, a bridge, a partial, or even all your teeth. 

The dental implants are made of titanium or zirconium, which are bio-friendly. After being installed, the jawbone will attach to the implant (osseointegration). This will provide stability for it and enable it to become just like your natural teeth. 

Benefits of Dental Implants

When people want an alternative to more traditional tooth replacement systems, dental implants provides the benefits that people want. For one thing, you can treat them just like your natural teeth, but some types are removable. They also let you eat whatever you want. You do not need to avoid certain foods. 

When you have a missing tooth or have dentures, the bone begins to be reabsorbed by your body. Over time, this process will make you look older as the bone loses vertical height. Dental implants prevent bone loss. Dentures can make your gums sore as they continue to shrink and because they rest directly on your gums. 

Whether you have AIDS or not, you will need to be free of gum disease to get dental implants. This common disease can cause them to fail.

You can have your missing teeth replaced with dental implants. In some cases, you may even be able to get teeth-in-a-day with the all-on-four dental implants. Dr. Kumar T. Vadivel, DDS, MS, MBA, FDSRCS, a Board Certified Periodontist is also a dental implant dentist. You can also get mini dental implants in his Carrollton, Cedar hill, Mockingbird/SMU, and Grapevine, TX offices. Most dental insurance plans are accepted. To set up a consultation or to get more information about dental implant options, you can contact his office