diabetes and tooth loss

By Joseph M. Arzadon, DDS, MD

Diabetes is a disease in which your blood glucose, or blood sugar, levels are too high. Glucose comes from the foods you eat. Insulin is a hormone that helps the glucose get into your cells to give them energy. With type 1 diabetes, your body does not make insulin. With type 2 diabetes, the more common type, your body does not make or use insulin well. Without enough insulin, the glucose stays in your blood.

Diabetes, while serious, is relatively common. Roughly 10 percent of American adults suffer from diabetes, and 25 percent of adults over the age of 65. What’s important to understand is that diabetes affects your whole body. The increased levels of glucose in the bloodstream causes major circulation issues, and over time many other complications can – and often do – occur.

Diabetes and oral health are closely related, as plaque and oral bacteria are exponentially more likely to result in infection. For example, various gum diseases are often seen in patients who have diabetes.

Gum disease is the leading cause of tooth loss, which is why many diabetic patients experience tooth loss – especially as they age. This can often be prevented in patients who keep up a healthy oral hygiene and see their dentist regularly. However this is not always the case. If you have lost teeth due to diabetes, you may be wondering if dental implants can offer a solution.

Dental implants, of course, are replacement tooth roots. Implants provide a strong foundation for permanent or removable replacement teeth that are made to match your natural teeth.

The answer to the question of whether dental implants are a good solution for diabetic patients is yes, and no.

If your diabetes is poorly controlled, your condition can certainly pose a risk for implants. The increased risk of infection can make healing difficult or delayed, which can prevent the implant-to-bone osseointegration.

For patients whose diabetic conditions are maintained and under control, studies show that the risks are significantly lower and successful implants are indeed possible. If you’re diabetic and considering dental implants, it’s recommended to speak to an oral and maxillofacial surgeon who can evaluate your condition and decide if you’re a candidate for the procedure. Make sure they know about your condition and discuss any concerns with them.

If you’re diabetic and concerned about tooth loss, the best thing for you to do is keep up your oral hygiene and see your dentist regularly. And make sure you follow their advice.

This article was originally published on Your Health Magazine. To read the article CLICK HERE.