Did you know that spending more time in that beautiful Florida sun can help your dental implant heal? No, the Florida sun is not magical. Rather, it is simple science. Sunlight is one of the primary sources of vitamin D and vitamin D can help dental implants heal. So, how is this possible?
Well, vitamin D is used by the body to absorb calcium and phosphorus from foods passing through the large intestine. In fact, the body cannot absorb calcium if vitamin D is not present. Since calcium and phosphorus are essential for new bone growth and maintain health bones, they are important during the implant recovery process. Because they can only be absorbed with vitamin D, this makes vitamin D equally as important.
After you have dental implants placed, they must undergo a process called osseointegration in order to be successful. Osseointegration is the process of new bone growth around the implant that fuses the implant securely within the surrounding bone. This fusion is what gives dental implants their strength. People who have adequate amounts of vitamin D are more likely to have proper bone growth, while those who are deficient may lack proper bone growth or take longer to grow new bone. Ultimately, vitamin D helps dental implants to heal faster and increases the chances of treatment success.
Not only that, but vitamin D also has antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties. Because of this, the risk of postoperative infection is reduced, as well as the risk of gum disease. Healthy gums are important when having dental implants placed because they help to support the implant and prosthesis.
At this point, you may be wondering how to know if you have a vitamin D deficiency and how to correct this. A study posted on the National Center for Biotechnology Information database found that as many as 41.6% Americans have a vitamin D deficiency, making it extremely common. Furthermore, you are at an elevated risk if you:
- Are overweight
- Are over the age of 65
- Have darker skin
- Don’t eat fish or dairy products
- Spend a lot of time inside
- Wear sunscreen when outside
Additionally, there are certain signs that can indicate a possible deficiency, such as: bone or hair loss, muscle or bone pain, fatigue, depression, wounds that don’t heal, or being sick a lot. While the risk factors and signs may indicate a vitamin D deficiency, ultimately the only way to know if you are deficient is to visit your primary care physician. They will likely order a blood test to check your level of vitamin D and determine supplements or lifestyle changes are needed.
If you are found to be deficient in vitamin D, your doctor may advise you to spend more time in the sun, eat more fatty fish and dairy, or start taking a vitamin D supplement. In most cases, it is recommended that you get 600 IU of vitamin D a day, or 800 IU if you are over the age of 70.
Overall, having adequate amounts of vitamin D is an easy way to help improve your dental implant treatment outcomes. Not only does it promote bone growth to expedite healing, but it also helps to reduce complications like infection and gum disease. Conversely, a vitamin D deficiency can slow down healing or result in inadequate bone growth. If you are having dental implants placed soon, you may want to consider spending more time in that beautiful Florida sun.
Dr. Sadati possesses extensive experience in all aspects of advanced restorative dentistry, with an emphasis in cosmetic and implant dentistry. He has attained Accredited Fellow status in the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD), the most rigorous, demanding credentialing process in the world. He is the only AACD Accredited Fellow in South Florida.