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RA and dental issues

Hi all! I’ve belonged to this site for a long time, but never really asked for help. However, I’m hoping someone has some advice, or has experienced something similar. I’ve had RA for 34 years, and have never gone into remission. Over the last 10 years, my mouth; i.e., teeth, gums, lips, tongue, etc. seem to have one problem after another. Mainly that my teeth are decaying at a pretty rapid rate. It started with several cavities needing filled. Then those progressed to needing crowns. Plus I’ve lost 2 molars on my left side, & one on my right. All needed pulled bc they were beyond help. My dentist wants to put a “partial” in on each side, (whatever that is). I keep asking about implants, & their response is that I still have plenty of good teeth. I don’t feel I do. I know implants are very expensive, but so are crowns, partials, & pulling teeth. We do not have dental insurance, & I feel if we have to dump more money into my mouth, why not do something that should be good for the rest of my life!?!🤷‍♀️ Every time I have a dental procedure done, a little “cha-ching” sound goes off in my head, & I think that I set my husband’s retirement back further & further. Does anyone have similar problems, or any advice, or dental knowledge about this? Before I wrap this up, I want you to know I brush 2-3 times a day. I floss, honestly, about every 4-9 days, (bad, I know, but it’s true), and I gargle & rinse 1, maybe 2x day. Btw, I am 62yo. Will be 63 in Feb 2024. I appreciate any & all comments.
Thank you

  1. Do you have difficulty with dry mouth pr Skogrens? They can increase oral infections. I’m 63 and have had RA for 7 years. Starting about 3 years ago I too started having dental issues. It may have coincided with starting biologics and definitely seems to be related to when I am on a biologic plus MTX. I haven’t had any new cavities, but have had root infections in teeth with old fillings or crowns. I’ve had multiple crowns and root canals and 2 extractions. Multiple dentist have told me I’m taking good care of my teeth and my gums are quite healthy. I really like using a WaterPik rather than flossing due to hand pain. Personally, because I have a tendency to get infections, I am uncomfortable with an implant. I’m afraid of getting a bone infection. I have a partial - basically they put a crown on the teeth in front and behind the extraction with a fake tooth to fill the gap. It’s all one piece. One extraction was the furthest back molar. I was advised to just let it be, especially if I don’t want an implant. I recommend you discuss your dental infections (and dry mouth if you have it) with your rheumatologist. And get their opinion on an implant. You may have to interrupt immunosuppressants. I Hope you can find comfort in your mouth soon! Jo

    1. *Sjogrens not Skogrens

      1. And one last thing, dental infections seem to increase RA symptoms per my rheumatologist.

    2. Hi . Many here understand what you are going through with dental issues. Let me say, there is no need to feel guilty or explain - this is not your fault. It is a function of the disease, treatments, comorbidities ... I want to share with you this article from our patient leader David on his experience and a couple of things he is trying: Also, here is a Forum discussion on periodontal disease: More anecdotally, I can tell you that my wife, Kelly Mack (a contributor here), was put on something called Perioprotect. It is a gel used with formed mouthpieces that cleans deeper than a person can with regular dental tools and helps with inflammation. I honestly don't know if you would be a candidate due to dental work and the anticipation of additional work (the dentist told me that someone like me would not be because of some issues with cracked teeth and expected crowns that will change the bite and fit of the molds), but want to share the information. Hope you can get the care you need for the teeth (and in a way that doesn't break the bank). Best, Richard ( Team)

      1. I have been having more trouble with my teeth in the past couple of years. I have noticed that teeth that had previous fillings are starting to crack and chip. I currently have one tooth that is about 1/2 way chipped/broken off. Financially, I can't afford to have a root canal and crown so I am just living with it until it gets so bad that it has to be pulled. As long as there isn't any pain, I will deal with it. I just am careful with what I eat on that side. I am 55 and have been diagnosed with RA since 2016.

        1. , ugh. I am so sorry you are in pain and don't have the finances to cover a root canal and crown. Lack of dental insurance coverage really bugs me, especially as we learn how important a healthy mouth can be for overall health! I wish the insurance weren't considered a luxury or an extra, but an integral part of health insurance. I am so sorry. You shouldn't have to live in pain like this. I know this sounds weird, but I hope the root/tooth dies quickly so you can get the tooth removed soon! Or, that you somehow have the option to get into the dentist and get things fixed.

          Gentle Hugs, Erin, Team Member.

        2. Please be careful. I can't tell you how many people I have recovered with heart valve surgery from bad teeth. The bacteria travels to the leaflets of your heart valves and ruins them. You will also need extended IV antibiotics.

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