Dental Implants and Diabetes

Patients who have diabetes and missing teeth may assume that getting dental implants is not worth the effort, or that they are not good candidates for the dental implant procedure due to their compromised health; however, nothing could be further from the truth. Provided your periodontist has performed a thorough review of your oral and health history and your diabetes is under control, having dental implants placed is highly recommended, and is a procedure that could actually help you better manage your diabetes.

When a tooth or multiple teeth are missing for some time, a person’s jawbone will slowly begin to deteriorate, which increases the risk of additional tooth loss. Additionally, the individual loses the ability to chew their food as well as they once did, which often results in worse nutrition, which can have a very serious impact on the state of one’s diabetes. This is due to the fact that patients typically stick to foods that are easier to eat because they do not cause any discomfort or irritation. Unfortunately, often these are not the healthiest foods to be eating. Once this habit of eating these type of foods sets in, it can become increasingly difficult to regulate ones blood sugar levels.

Aside from the improvement dental implants can have on your diabetes and overall physical and oral health, dental implants also eliminate many of the issues commonly attributed to traditional dentures, which are prone to slip out of place and become loosened. In addition to causing embarrassment in social situations, loose dentures can also cause sore spots to develop on the gums, which can be quite painful. Patients who have dentures and are experiencing this issue should schedule an appointment with their periodontist to see if they are a good candidate for dental implants.

If you would like to learn more about dental implants and how having diabetes may impact your treatment options or procedural experience, please refer to the following.

Am I a Good Candidate for Dental Implants?

Patients with diabetes will need to be thoroughly evaluated to ensure that they are viable candidates for the dental implant procedure. Patients with Type 1 diabetes are at a higher risk of experiencing complications or their implant failing compared to patients with Type 2 diabetes, but this does not necessarily mean that Type 1 patients are not good candidates for the procedure. It may, however, mean that you will need to take antibiotics following your procedure and/or practice more specific post-operative care instructions.

Your age and the length of time you have had diabetes will also be important factors in how likely you are to be a good candidate for this procedure. The recovery time for patients who are older and/or who have had diabetes for a longer period of time will be much slower than for patients who are younger or only recently been diagnosed with diabetes.

Additional factors that may play a role in whether you are a candidate for dental implants include:

  • If you currently have periodontal disease, and if so, its severity
  • Whether you have enough jawbone to support a dental implant
  • If you have been treated for oral cancer or taken bisphosphate medications
  • Any additional underlying health issues that may hinder your healing process
  • How committed you are to following post-procedural instructions
  • Whether you engage in certain lifestyle habits, such as smoking or eating an unhealthy diet.
  • Whether your diabetes is under control

Why Your Diabetes Should Be Under Control

If your diabetes is not under control, you should not have dental implants placed, as you are at a much higher risk of developing a post-procedural infection and/or your implant failing. Patients with diabetes already have a slower healing process, and this process is only compounded when the diabetes is not under control. Given this, you may need to work with your internist before your periodontist feels comfortable scheduling you for a dental implant procedure. Once it is determined that your diabetes is under control, you can move ahead with the procedure.

Are Dental Implants Worth the Time and Money?

Two of the biggest reasons patients may be hesitant to undergo the dental implant procedure is because of the cost and time involved. These are very understandable concerns. Compared to traditional dentures, dental implants are much more expensive. Additionally, the process of having dental implants performed can take several months and even over one year, whereas traditional dentures can be fitted within a few weeks or even days.

If these concerns are keeping you from pursuing the dental implant procedure, it may be helpful to keep in mind some of the many benefits you will enjoy once the process is over, which include things like:

  • Your ability to speak and enunciate will improve dramatically
  • Because of your stronger chewing forces, you will be able to enjoy all different types of foods. Also, because you are better able to chew your foods, your digestion and physical health will improve as well.
  • Dental implants eliminate the need for dental adhesives and requires far less specialized daily maintenance
  • Once the dental implant process is complete, you will no longer have to worry about your dentures slipping out of place while you are talking or eating
  • Your smile will look and feel more natural
  • Halts the process of jawbone deterioration, which reduces your risk of developing complications associated with jawbone loss. This will also preserve the structure of your face and smile, allowing you to maintain a more youthful appearance.
  • Because of the many improvements to quality of life and the improved aesthetic appearance of their smile, many patients experience enhanced feelings of self-worth and confidence once the dental implant procedure is complete.

Contact Your Periodontist Today

If you have been considering getting dental implants but have avoided pursuing this treatment option because you are concerned that having diabetes will prevent you from having this procedure performed, contact your periodontist today. They can answer any questions you have and make sure you receive the care you need to achieve the smile you want and the health you deserve.

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