Diabetes and Dental Implants: are they truly incompatible?
You may have asked yourself if dental implants are right for someone who is diabetic. Are they safe? How is treatment any different than for non-diabetics? To provide a proper answer, it helps to explore diabetes and dental implants in a bit more detail. After all, there are different types of diabetes and implant treatments; depending on the types, different considerations and precautions will be needed prior to and after the procedure. Let’s take a quick look at each.
Stages in the dental implant process
Dental implant(s) are conducted to replace one or more missing teeth. The typical steps in the process are as follows:1
- To begin, your dentist conducts a thorough examination of your mouth and takes x-rays of your head, jaw, and teeth to determine if a dental implant is a recommended treatment.
- The first procedure in the treatment involves inserting a dental implant in your jaw. The implant is fixed under the gingival (gum) tissue, which is then sutured. As the tissue heals, the implant integrates with the bone (via bone reconstruction, or osseointegration) and will stabilize in the gum. To learn more about osseointegration, please read our blog post: Replacing teeth with dental implants; Do I have enough bone? Postoperative recovery can take several months.
- Once the gingival tissue heals, your dentist or specialist sets an abutment to the implant. The abutment is a pin which connects the replacement tooth to the implant. In some cases, the two procedures presented above can be combined in a single visit to your specialist.
- Finally, a crown is made and then attached to the abutment. Achieving a perfect fit of the tooth on the abutment may require several sessions. (for more information on dental implants, please see our many articles by clicking on the following link (http://www.seaforthoralsurgery.com/blog/).
Let’s now shift gears and look at the different types of patients, both diabetic and not.
Patient types and diabetes
When blood sugar levels amongst patients are of concern, dentists will categorize patients into one of three categories:
- diabetic patients with excellent glucose control
- diabetic patients with poor glucose control
- non-diabetic patients
Studies show that dental implant success rates are often around 95%, which is consistent across the above patient groups, except for those with poor control of their glycemic intake. Such patients see a slower remodeling of the bone around the implant than do non-diabetic patients.2 As such, certain precautions need to be taken, the first being the control of blood glucose.
Precautions for diabetic patients prior to placing a dental implant
When it comes to reactions of implant treatment, diabetic patients (type 1 or 2) are identical to non-diabetics, provided that their blood sugar levels are balanced and well controlled, particularly before and after implant surgery. Such patients have an aforementioned success rate of up to 95-97%.
Your dentist will therefore work with your doctor to control your blood sugar before, during, and after the operation, while being made aware of which medical treatments you are following (as required by the Canadian Dental Association).3 In such cases, surgery will be complimented with a simple antbiotherapy, which is the use of a prescribed antibiotic mouthwash before and after the operation.
Finally, diabetic patients are recommended to undertake what is commonly called a delayed loading. This is the recommended time before the crown can be placed on the implant to ensure perfect osseointegration. For the lower jaw, this will be three months and for the upper jaw, four).4
To answer our original questions, yes, dental implants are suitable and safe for diabetics provided the proper precautions are taken. Regardless of your health profile, your dentist or maxillofacial surgeon will build a tailored treatment procedure for you.
If you are considering dental implants and have any questions, do not hesitate to contact us for more information.