If you're a diabetic patient with missing teeth, you may avoid asking your dentist about the possibility of implants because you've heard that diabetics are not candidates for this procedure. While it is true that many dentists have avoided placing implants in diabetics' mouths due to fears of slow healing, new studies are revealing that diabetics may tolerate implants far better than was previously thought. It might be time to reconsider whether or not you want those new teeth! Here are a few other facts about dental implants and diabetes to help you weigh your options appropriately.
Patients with well-controlled diabetes have about the same implant success rate as non-diabetic patients.
If your diabetes is well-controlled—meaning that you closely follow your doctor's guidelines in terms of keeping your blood sugar levels in check, maintaining a proper diet, and using insulin or any other medications as directed—studies suggest that you have about the same as the success rate as people without diabetes experience.
If your diabetes is not currently well controlled, talk to your doctor to figure out how you can better control it. Perhaps after you get your disease under better control, your dentist will be confident that implants present less of a risk to you.
Your risk may depend on whether you have type I or type II diabetes.
Type II diabetes is considered to be more treatable and controllable than type I, so in general, getting dental implants is seen as less risky for patients with type II diabetes than for those with type I. However, every individual is different, and your dentist and physician may tell you you're a candidate even with type I diabetes if it has been well managed.
The key concern regarding implants for diabetics is healing time.
Many dentists and doctors are worried that the bone and gum tissues will not heal quickly enough to anchor the implants successfully. However, your past healing experiences can be evaluated to predict how well you're likely to heal from implants. If you've had surgery in the past and healed from it well, this is a good indication that you'll heal from implants well, too.
Whether or not you're a candidate for dental implants will depend on how well managed your diabetes is, what type of diabetes you have and how well your body heals. Don't just assume you cannot get implants because you're a diabetic. Times are changing, so if you talk to your dentist, you might be pleasantly surprised to find out that you are, in fact, a candidate.