November is National Diabetes Month, and to celebrate, we want to talk about the condition and how it relates to dental implant treatment. For a long time, diabetic patients were unable to receive treatment with dental implants. The reason for this was that it was believed that the condition might interfere with the ability of implants to heal and integrate with the jawbone. This has only started to change in recent years, as research that came out in 2012 and 2013 showed that the treatment might not interfere with implant treatment like we thought.
The Vital Recovery Period of the Implant Process
What makes dental implant unique among all other treatments for missing teeth is the fact that the root piece of the treatment is placed directly into the patient’s jawbone, just like a natural tooth root is. By utilizing a natural, biological process called osseointegration, this fixture piece can fuse directly to the patient’s jawbone. This is possible because the root piece is made from titanium, which is a biocompatible alloy that the body doesn’t see as unnatural. When placed in the jawbone, osseointegration causes new bone tissue to grow up along the implant fixture, melding with it and pulling it permanently into place.
Sometimes, patients with certain conditions or habits are recommended against proceeding with implant treatment. The reason for this is that the condition or habit they might have is believed to interfere with osseointegration, which will result in the treatments failure. This has been true for patients who smoke, drink, and even those with diabetes. And while we have had plenty of success placing dental implants in patients with these risks, the fact is that the chances of failure were higher than for patients without these factors.
Diabetes and Changing Attitudes
For a long time, the same mentality that kept smokers and regular drinkers from proceeding with implant treatment has kept diabetic patients from receiving the treatment. Diabetics were considered risky because it was believed that the surplus of sugar in the bloodstream might prevent the implant fixture from properly integrating.
Fortunately, more recent studies are changing the way diabetic implant patients are looked at. One such study conducted in 2013 states, “Success of dental implant in well and fairly controlled diabetic patients with proper treatment planning, prophylactic remedies and adequate postsurgical maintenance appears as good as normal individuals” (Debey, Gupta, and Singh). To take the science jargon out of it, the chances of the treatment succeeding in diabetic patients who have their condition well controlled are just as high as they would be for healthy patients without the condition.
Another study, conducted in 2012 backs this up, showing that there was a success rate of 94 percent amongst diabetic patients (Prakash and Victor). With this research, as well as research still being conducted today, attitudes toward diabetic patients looking for implant treatment are quickly changing. Now, more and more patients with diabetes are being allowed to receive the tooth restoration treatments they need.
Give Your Treatment the Best Chances of Success
If you are considering treatment with dental implants, then there are some steps you can take to help your treatment have the best chances of success:
- Maintain Proper Oral Hygiene: Be sure to create a proper oral hygiene routine, and stick to it. This means brushing twice a day (at least) and flossing once a day. With this care, you can keep away dangerous oral conditions that can cause the treatment to fail.
- Don’t Hesitate to Consider Care: Some patients can have trouble pursuing implant treatment because they waited too long before moving forward with the treatment. The longer you take, the higher your chances of developing gum recession and jawbone deterioration. Don’t wait, get the care you need now.
- Give Up Dangerous Habits: Smoking and alcoholism can reduce your body’s ability to heal. Without the full potential of its regenerative abilities, the chances of implant failure are much higher. For this reason, you should consider giving up tobacco use, and heavily moderating alcohol consumption.
- Eat Healthier: Not many people think about it, but implant success can also depend on the overall health of your body, as surgical procedures are required. By having a healthy, balanced diet, your body will be better suited to accommodating this procedure.
Consult with Dr. Christopher Long
Despite this new evidence, there is still a lot more research and testing that needs to be done. Because of this, we can only promise dental implants to diabetic patients on a case by case basis. Here at our West Vancouver office, we have had a lot of success placing implants in diabetic patients, and, as more research comes out, we believe we will only have more success. If you are ready to find out if you qualify for treatment with dental implants, contact our office and schedule a no-obligation consultation with Dr. Christopher Long.