Manage Your Dental Problems One Tip at a Time

4 Things Diabetics Need To Know About Dental Implants

Tooth loss is a common problem among diabetics. Studies have shown nearly one-third of diabetics are missing all of their teeth, and if you're one of them, you probably already know that dentures aren't an ideal replacement for your natural teeth. Dental implants are often considered the best way to replace missing teeth, so if you're looking to replace your dentures, here's what you need to know.

Why are dental implants better than dentures?

Dental implants have many advantages over dentures. They don't slip out of place when you eat or chew, so you'll be able to eat corn on the cob, barbecued steaks, and other foods that you can't easily eat with dentures. They are built to last for the rest of your life, so you don't need to worry about having to replace them. They also help to keep your jawbone strong and healthy, while dentures allow your jawbone to deteriorate and reabsorb into your body. Even better, dental implants are stored in your mouth, not in a cup beside your bed. 

How are dental implants placed?

Dental implant surgery is a fairly simple procedure, though it takes place over three appointments. At your first appointment, your dentist will cut into your gum tissue, embed the metal post that will form the base of the implant into your jawbone, and then sew your gum tissue shut. After this appointment, you'll be sent home to heal. It can take several months for your jawbone to heal around the implant, so you won't get your new tooth right away. 

Once your jawbone is healed, you'll go back for your second appointment. Your dentist will cut open your gum tissue to expose the base of the implant, then the core of the replacement tooth, called an abutment, will be attached to the base. Your gum tissue will be sewn up once more, and again you'll be sent home to heal. 

A couple weeks later, it will be time for your third and final appointment. Your replacement tooth will be cemented around the abutment that was placed during your second appointment. You're finally done!

Does diabetes affect the success of dental implants?

Diabetes can make your dental implants more likely to fail, so it's very important that your diabetes is well-controlled. The main problem that diabetes causes is delayed healing. 

Dental implants are implanted in your jawbone, and your jawbone needs to heal tightly around the posts to hold them in place. When you have high blood sugar, the bone heals significantly more slowly than it should. This means that your dental implants won't have a secure base, and may become loose or even fall out. 

Your jawbone isn't the only part of your mouth that heals slowly when you have poorly controlled diabetes. Your gum tissue also heals more slowly. When this happens, you're at risk of infections in your gums, which can spread to your jawbone and lead to failure of your implants. 

How often do dental implants fail in diabetics?

Studies have shown that diabetics who control their blood sugar levels well are no more likely to suffer a dental implant failure than non-diabetics are. The success rates for both groups have been reported to be between 85.5% and 100% by various studies. 

However, if your blood sugar levels are high, you could suffer from complications that increase the risk of your implants failing. If you have poorly controlled diabetes, your dentist may not allow you to get dental implants due to the higher risk of failure. 

Tooth loss is a common problem among diabetics, and if your diabetes is well-managed, you may be able to replace your missing teeth with dental implants. Make an appointment with your dentist, like Dale D. Lentz DDS, to find out if you're a good candidate for the procedure.