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Are Dental Implants Safe for Patients with Diabetes?

Sep 01, 2023

In this blog, we delve deep into the important connection between dental implants and diabetes, exploring how these two health concerns intersect and influence each other.

Diabetes is a condition in which the body’s ability to produce or respond to insulin is impaired. This condition has many short-term and long-term effects on your health if not managed properly.

One of the long-term impacts is periodontal disease. Statistics show that approximately 22% of patients who have been diagnosed with diabetes have periodontal disease. If left untreated, this can lead to tooth loss- which draws a clear connection between diabetes and tooth loss.

Tooth loss is one of the most common dental issues faced by American adults. In fact, research shows that 120 million adults are missing at least one tooth and 36 million of those have no remaining natural teeth at all.  

The good news is that dental implants can replace missing teeth. In fact, dental implants may be the best option for patients with diabetes. After all, dental implants make it easier to maintain a diabetic-friendly diet, as well as eliminate inflammation, irritation, and infections that are common with dentures.

However, the caveat is that your condition must be under control and there are some special pre- and post-implant steps that must be taken to maximize the success of the procedure.

Exploring the Connection - Dental Implants and Diabetes

In a 2016 study, researchers discovered that when patients have their diabetes under control, dental implants are a safe and effective option for replacing missing teeth. The complication rate for these patients is similar to that of healthy patients. This means that dental implants are the ideal solution for adults who have been diagnosed with diabetes and are missing one or more teeth.

That being said, there are some things to keep in mind in order to ensure that dental implants are safe for you.

Is Your Diabetes Under Control?

Research has proven that patients with controlled diabetes have a comparable complication and failure rate as healthy patients. However, patients with uncontrolled diabetes have a higher rate of complications including post-procedure infection and ultimately, implant failure.

A dental implant is a tooth replacement device that is inserted into the jawbone. Over time, the jawbone will heal around and fuse with the implant through a process known as osseointegration. This creates a stable base for the prosthetic tooth, making it look more like a natural tooth than other tooth replacement options. This is also what makes dental implants a more permanent solution.

Since healing is generally slower in patients with diabetes, those with uncontrolled diabetes are more likely to experience complications in healing. Therefore, your dentist may recommend that you work with your medical provider to get your condition under control before undergoing dental implant surgery.

What Type of Diabetes Do You Have?

The type of diabetes you have may play a role in determining your candidacy for dental implants. Type 2 is easier to control than type 1, making the procedure less risky. In addition, patients who have been recently diagnosed are more likely to heal properly than those who have been dealing with it for years.

Since your risk of oral health issues increases with diabetes, your dentist will recommend that you maintain proper oral hygiene. This includes brushing at least twice daily and flossing at least once, as well as visiting the dentist a minimum of every 6 months. You should also drink plenty of water and maintain a healthy diet to manage your condition.

Dental Implants Can Improve Your Diet

A healthy, diabetes-friendly diet consists of lots of fresh, whole, firm foods that require a lot of chewing. These foods are harder to chew with dentures or dental bridges. Since dental implants are anchored by the jawbone, they function more like natural teeth, making it easier to chew.

Dentures are susceptible to slipping and sliding around in the mouth. This leads to gum tenderness and mouth sores. Many people with dentures opt for softer, highly processed foods because it’s almost impossible to bite and chew on healthy foods when your dentures keep moving around. These highly processed foods are often high in carbohydrates, which can make it almost impossible to keep blood sugar levels stable.

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