Dental Implants and Diabetes Safety
Dental implants are indeed safe for patients who have diabetes. Using dental implants as a tooth replacement solution can actually aid in improving the patient’s overall health. In addition to helping maintain a nutritious and well-balanced diet, implants can also help prevent inflammation, irritation and infection which are common with decayed teeth or dentures. Patients with diabetes may need additional care before and after the implant procedure to ensure it is successful. However, recent studies demonstrated that implants are safe for patients who have their diabetes under control.
How Does Diabetes Affect My Ability to Get Dental Implants?
Based on a study conducted in 2016 which focused on dental implants and diabetes, the researchers found that in cases where diabetes was under control, implants were perfectly safe. The study found that patients with diabetes had similar complication rate to the healthy patients. These findings were optimistic for adults who have diabetes and want a reliable, long-term tooth replacement solution.
This article will review additional factors for diabetic patients to evaluate when considering dental implants as a solution for replacing their missing or damaged teeth.
Control of Diabetes
In the systematic review of various studies, the data demonstrated that patients who had controlled cases of diabetes were not at an increased risk for complications or failures compared to patients without diabetes. The results did demonstrate that patients who had uncontrolled diabetes were at a higher risk for infection following the procedure and the overall failure of the implant.
When a patient receives a dental implant, it is embedded directly into the jaw bone. As a result, the process relies on the natural ability for the body to heal and for the jaw bone to fuse or integrate to the implant. This process is referred to as osseointegration. In addition, the gums also need to heal from the procedure. Because the implant is able to integrate into the jaw and heal, implants appear and function just like the natural teeth. The osseointegration which takes place also provides stimulation for the jaw bone which prevents resorption or change in the structure of the bone and face.
For patients with diabetes, the healing process can be a bit slower. And patients who have uncontrolled diabetes have an even more challenging time with the healing process. Because of this, the oral surgeon or dentist may encourage patients to work with their internist to ensure their diabetes is controlled prior to receiving dental implants. Once the patient’s diabetes is under control, there should not be any issues with the patient undergoing the dental implant procedure.
Maintain a Healthy and Balanced Diet
A healthy and balanced diet which is rich in nutritional value often includes plenty of fresh, whole foods. This often requires patients to be able to chew firmer foods. Because dental implants are strong and secure, it is often easier for patients to consume healthier foods without any dietary restrictions.
With dentures, the device must be removed or the diet needs to be modified to accommodate the limitations. It is more common for dentures to slip or move around, which can cause sores and tenderness of the gums. Because of this, many foods which require a stronger bite such as high-fiber vegetables, are off limits. In cases where the patient has irritating and uncomfortable dentures, they are often more prone to eating less or eating less nutritious foods. Because of the limitations, they may select softer, processed, higher-carb foods. A poor diet without the right nutrients makes it nearly impossible to maintain the right blood sugar levels.
Dental implants are safe for diabetic patients and have even been found to improve the patient’s overall health. While the implants aid the patient in maintaining a well-balanced diet, they also eliminate the risk of inflammation, irritation and infection which commonly occur with dentures. This ultimately reduces the risk of patient experiencing periodontal disease, infections, and other complications.
Unfortunately, type 1 diabetes is typically more difficult for patients to control. As a result, the risks and failure rates are slightly higher for patients with type 1 diabetes than for those with type 2 diabetes. To be clear, patients with type 1 diabetes mat still be good candidates for dental implants. However, the oral surgeon or dentist may practice extra diligence in the initial evaluation of reviewing the patient’s oral and general health.
In addition, the patient’s age may play a larger role if they have diabetes. The longer a patient has had diabetes, increases their vulnerability to infections and reduced their ability to heal. For patients with diabetes who are interested in implants, they should follow up with a dental professional as soon as possible.
A common question to receive from patients who are considering dental implants is if age is an important factor. The patient’s overall health is actually more important than their age in regards for being a candidate for implants. The following conditions may disqualify a patient from being a candidate for implants:
- Conditions or diseases which compromise the patient’s ability to heal
- Low bone density; bone grafts can often resolve this issue
- Patients with oral cancer or those who have previously taken bisphosphate medications
- Periodontal or gum disease
- Smoking which can compromise the healing process and prevent the implant from being successful. Patients who smoke need to commit to quitting for
- the entire procedure. In many cases, this will take a few months.
- Unwilling or unable to follow post-procedure care instructions and restrictions
Each of these things will be evaluated and discussed during the initial consultation for dental implants. This also gives the patient an opportunity to discuss their health history, medications, and any other relevant information. Dental implants are an exceptional solution for replacing missing and damaged teeth. While it is important that the patient is in good health prior to receiving dental implants, diabetes should not disqualify patients from being a candidate for the implant procedure.
Contact your dentist to discuss if you may be a good candidate for dental implants. Even if you have diabetes, you may still be a candidate for undergoing the procedure.