A dentist will only recommend dental implant surgery based on the information from an in-depth patient evaluation. The dentist will perform a thorough exam that may include medical imaging and will request a full medical history from the patient. Put together, this information helps to predict the outcome of dental implant surgery for an individual.If…
How Diabetes Can Affect Outcome of Dental Implant Surgery
Potential candidates for dental implant surgery need to meet several criteria before they get the dentist’s approval for the procedure. Many of the boxes a person needs to check have to do with their overall systemic health. Dentists screen prospective implant patients because a surgical procedure is involved, and the person needs to be healthy enough to go through this elective surgery and the recovery process without complications.
A dentist will always inquire whether a patient has a medical condition that could affect the outcome of the dental implant procedure. One of the medical conditions that dentists ask about is diabetes because persons with this disease are at a higher risk for surgical complications.
Diabetes and how it affects systemic health
Type 1 diabetes occurs when the pancreas makes little or no insulin. A person who lives with this condition needs regular insulin shots to ensure that the glucose in their blood reaches the cells that need it. One complication that can arise from Type 1 diabetes is vascular disease, which can affect the success of a dental implant. People with Type 1 diabetes also tend to have reduced bone density.
Type 2 diabetes happens when the pancreas produces insufficient insulin, or when the cells develop a resistance to insulin. As a result, the cells fail to absorb blood glucose as they should. Ultimately, glucose accumulates in the blood, resulting in what is known as high blood sugar.
Persistently high blood sugar often causes complications like the reduced function of the circulatory system. It can lower a person’s immunity and affect the success of a dental implant.
Diabetes and the healing of soft tissue
Diabetics with uncontrolled blood sugar have a weakened immune response, making them vulnerable to infection. A major contributing factor to a diabetic’s weakened immunity is a drop in the efficiency of the circulatory system. This affects the ability of the blood to send white nutrients, blood cells and antibodies to where they are needed in a timely manner.
Sustained high blood glucose levels also encourage the growth and proliferation of harmful bacteria. A person with diabetes becomes all the more vulnerable when they have a wound. For starters, the person will heal slower than someone with normal blood sugar. To add to this, the diabetic will be at a higher risk of developing an infection.
Diabetes and osseointegration
Osseointegration is the process by which a dental implant fuses with the bone it sits in. When this process goes well, then dental implant surgery is considered a success. However, diabetes can negatively affect osseointegration.
Bone tissue is made up of cells, some of which have the job of building more hard tissue. Bone regenerates constantly. It also repairs itself after trauma, such as when a dentist drills a small hole to hold a dental implant. Persistently high blood glucose levels, or hyperglycemia, affect this process in the following ways:
- Hyperglycemia adversely affects hormones that regulate how the body metabolizes calcium and phosphorous, materials needed to build bone.
- It may trigger an inflammatory response, which in turn activates osteoclasts, which are cells responsible for scheduled destruction of bone tissue. With these cells in overdrive, a diabetic loses more bone than they normally would.
- It also increases the rate at which the cells that line the bone surface die.
- Reduced vascular function also affects how well supplies such as minerals make their way to the bone.
All these factors affect how quickly bone grows around the implant. Studies done on diabetic mice and rabbits found that bone tissue sometimes fails to fuse with the surface of the implant even when it grows to engulf it.
Dental implants for diabetics
If a person takes the utmost care of their body and mouth, then dental implants most likely will take. According to the National Journal of Maxillofacial Surgery, dental implant surgery has at least an 85% success rate in diabetics. While this is lower than the success rate of non-diabetics, it is not terrible. In addition, if a person gets through the first year, the chances of long-term success greatly increase. A dentist will clear a diabetic for dental implant surgery if the following conditions exist:
- The diabetic maintains a healthy blood sugar level in the months before dental implant surgery
- The person is in otherwise excellent health and gets the all-clear from their primary care physician
- The individual has excellent oral health
- The patient agrees to take a preventative course of antibiotics prior to and after the procedure
- The diabetic has sufficient bone to anchor an implant
Consult a dentist to find out if dental implants will work
Skilled, experienced dentists will do an exhaustive evaluation of their patients before they recommend dental implant surgery. If a permanent replacement for a missing tooth is needed, schedule an appointment to find out if dental implants are a good option.
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