Diabetes is closely associated with a range of serious health problems. If you have diabetes, you need to pay particular attention to your dental health and you should regularly attend a dental clinic.
If you have diabetes and associated tooth loss, you may be interested in whether dental implants procedures are an option.
Dental health and diabetes
Diabetes is linked to dental disease, including gum disease (periodontitis), tooth decay and tooth loss.
The main dental disease symptoms associated with diabetes are:
- bad breath
- sore, swollen or bleeding gums
- receding gums
- gaps between the teeth
- loose teeth.
In the early stages of disease, most symptoms may not present discomfort. By the time pain is evident, disease may be well advanced.
Advanced gum disease, or periodontitis, results in the gum and bone around the teeth receding and contributes to tooth decay (or tooth loss). Managing blood glucose levels along with regular dental checks and treatment is necessary to manage this condition to avoid pain and eventual tooth loss.
Dental health problems, particularly where infection is involved, can in turn make it more difficult to manage diabetes. Gum disease and diabetes can combine to increase the risk of heart disease.
If you have diabetes:
- practise good home care — brush twice a day, floss, avoid sugary snacks and drinks
- have regular check-ups at a dental clinic — be sure you tell your dentist that you have diabetes
- have any necessary preventative and therapeutic treatments to stop problems from becoming worse.
Diabetes Australia publishes further information on diabetes and dental health.
Can a diabetic have dental implants?
A dental implant is an alternative to wearing dentures. An implant is a screw made of titanium or other stable material that is placed into the bone of the jaw. It is used to hold a crown or bridge to replace a missing tooth or teeth.
To replace a missing tooth, a crown is attached to the implant once it is established in the jaw. A crown is an artificial tooth made to match your other teeth.
The implant procedure requires several steps and will be spread over at least a few months. You can read more about the general procedure in the Federal Health Department’s guide and our guide to healthier teeth.
For implants to be suitable, you will usually need:
- to be physically mature
- to have a healthy jawbone
- to have healthy gums
- to not have any conditions that affect bone healing.
As mentioned above, gum problems are relatively common among people with diabetes. These will need to be resolved before an implant procedure can be done.
Consultations with your dentist and the doctor that helps you manage your diabetes will be necessary to assess your suitability. They will also help you prepare for and recover from the procedure, should you go ahead.
Dental implants and diabetes
You need to consider the risks and be willing to commit to giving yourself the best chance of success.
Securely attaching the implant requires the gum and jaw tissue to grow around it. Poorer blood flow and immune response associated with diabetes often means wounds in the mouth take much longer to heal compared to people without diabetes.
If you have diabetes, you should consider that it could take months longer for you to heal from a dental implant procedure than it would for a person without diabetes. This long healing time also means you could face a higher risk your implant will fail.
Until the wound heals and the implant is secure, you will need to carefully manage the risk of infection.
With good preparation and management of your diabetes and current dental health, a dental implant may be suitable.
If you have tooth loss and want to explore the potential for a dental implant procedure, you should seek a consultation with a specialist who can tell you more.
How we can help you
Dental implant surgery is one of our specialist services at Aria Dental in Perth. If you have diabetes, we can assess your suitability for dental implant treatment. We also provide ‘before and after’ advice and care.
Dental implants can provide you with a strong, functional and life-like replacement tooth or teeth. They can also give you more self-confidence and enhanced oral health.
In addition to our high quality dental implant service, we also specialise in:
- cosmetic dentistry (including Invisalign treatment), and
- high-end denture procedures.
- dental treatments with autoimmune disease
Contact us at our Hay Street clinic in the Perth CBD to find out more about your dental needs. We’d love to hear from you and we’d be happy to answer any question you may have.