Dental Implants and Diabetes

Absolutely! People with diabetes are definitely good candidates for dental implants and using dental implants to replace missing or damaged teeth can improve the overall health of diabetics. As compared to dentures, dental implants can help people eat a well-balanced diet and have decreased inflammation, irritation, and infections. If you have diabetes and you want to use dental implants, you will need to adhere to specialized pre and post procedure care to ensure your implant is successful. Recent studies show that people who have controlled diabetes have minimal risk for dental implants. The extra care before and after your dental implant surgery will minimize your risk of dangerous periodontal disease, infections, and complications. The dentist will need to review your medical history as well as any history you have of surgery while you were diabetic so the dentist can provide you with the best care during your dental implant process.

How Does Diabetes Affect My Ability to Get Dental Implants?

In 2016, there was a systematic review of the studies of people with diabetes who had dental implants and the research showed that “the complication rate similar to that of healthy patients.” The conclusion goes on to indicate, “If their diabetes is under well control, implant procedures are safe and predictable.” People with diabetes who want a safe and more lasting alternative to dentures now have the great news they have been waiting for.

Do you have type 1 or type 2 diabetes?

It is more difficult to control type 1 diabetes; the risks and failure rates associated with dental implants for people with type 1 diabetes is slightly higher as compared to people with type 2. People with type 1 diabetes are not excluded from having dental implants but the dentist will be more diligent in the review of your medical and dental records. The dentist will assess your general health in order to learn more about your history of infection and your body’s typical healing timeline. Age matters more for patients with diabetes than it does for people without it who want dental implants. As you age and when you have diabetes you are more prone to infections and slower healing processes. So if you have diabetes and you want to replace your missing or damaged teeth with dental implants, you should not wait any longer to ensure the best outcome.

Is your diabetes under control?

With research backing up the low risk of people with controlled diabetes having successful dental implant procedures, the risk is of complications or failures is no higher than their non-diabetic counterparts. However, the research shows that patients with un-controlled diabetes experienced higher rates of post-procedure infection and higher rates of implant failure.

The major reasons that dental implants are so popular are their stability and performance that mimics your natural teeth. To achieve this, the screw-like post is embedded into the jaw bone and needs to heal into place by fusing with the bone. The body’s natural healing processes allow the post to be incorporated into the jaw bone tissue, referred to as the process of osseiointegration. After the surgery, the incisions in the gums must heal as well. Once the entire dental implant process is complete, the dental implant is integrated into the jaw and gums giving it the appearance of a real tooth. Functionally, dental implants are a more permanent solution than dentures.

In older people and in people with diabetes, the healing process can take longer. People with un-controlled diabetes have an even more difficult time healing so the dentist can help you work to controlling your diabetes before your dental implant procedure. In fact, the oral surgeon or dentist can help you work with your diabetes to ensure that you are preventing gum disease as well. After the surgeon is comfortable with the consistency and predictability of your diabetes, the dentist can ensure your mouth is ready for the next step of the dental implant process.

Are you generally healthy?

Your health is a larger factor than your age in determining if you are a good candidate for dental implants. The reasons that the dentist may not want to move forward with dental implants as your treatment option are:

  • Untreated, present gum disease
  • Uncontrolled periodontal disease
  • Low bone density when bone grafting is not an option
  • Unwillingness or inability to follow post implant instructions properly
  • Current smoker
  • Oral cancer treatment in the past

If you do not think you will be able to patiently work through the post implant period with diligent care and careful attention to the instructions of your dentist, then you should look into other tooth replacement alternatives. You will need to be very mindful of what you eat and what you put in your mouth so you give your implants the best chance to heal completely.

If you are a smoker then not only will it be harder for you to heal from the surgery due to the nicotine, but the sucking action of inhaling can disrupt the healing as well. In most cases, the dentist will ask smokers who want dental implants to quit for the duration of the process. The process often takes months from start to finish so it may offer a great opportunity for smokers to quit smoking for good.

The bisphosphate medications you have taken in the past to treat your oral cancer can impair your body’s ability to heal properly from implant surgery. In fact, there are other conditions or diseases that compromise your ability to heal that can help the dentist determine if you are a good candidate or not. The dentist will do their best to work with you to get the dental implants you want even if you are not an ideal candidate yet. You may be able to have dental implants to replace your missing or damaged teeth sooner rather than later.

Dental implants can help you maintain a diabetes-healthy diet

One of added benefits for people with dental implants is their improved ability to chew as compared to missing teeth or dentures. The healthiest diets have lots of fresh, whole foods which usually require more masticating than the processed foods that are softer. Dentures make it difficult to chew due to the shifting and sliding in your mouth. Not only does eating become more difficult, but you may develop gum sores from the pressure.

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