Patients get millions of dental implants every year, and the procedure is widely considered to be a safe and effective means of replacing missing teeth.
But implant surgery isn’t appropriate for everyone. Diabetes is often singled out as a condition that can negatively affect the implant process. Consequently, many people with the disease think they must choose a different method of tooth restoration, such as a bridge or dentures.
The good news is that, in fact, most diabetics can get dental implants safely.
Risk Factors with Dental Implants for Diabetics
When it comes to any dental or medical procedure, chronic health conditions can pose additional risks.
With diabetes, one of the main considerations is the way the disease impairs the body’s natural healing process. Diabetics typically have longer recovery times, taking up to twice the time to heal after any type of surgery than non-affected patients.
Diabetics are also at an increased risk for developing post-surgical infections. Diabetes can alter bone formation, diminishing the growth and mineral density of the bone around the implants.
Despite these risk factors, an experienced oral surgeon often still can complete the process successfully for diabetic patients.
Success of Dental Implants for Diabetics
Across all patient populations, implants placed by a qualified and experienced oral surgeon have a success rate of about 98 percent. So how does diabetes affect the success of implant surgery?
Research shows that patients with well-controlled diabetes can, with proper treatment, planning and postsurgical maintenance, have the same success with implants as people who do not have the disease.
But not every diabetic has the disease under control.
As many as 30 to 50 percent of patients have poor blood sugar management. For these patients, the traditional belief has been that implant surgery is not an option. Several studies have shown, however, that uncontrolled diabetes may not be associated with implant complications or failure.
For example, one study published in the Journal of the American Dental Association compared long-term implant survival rates for patients with uncontrolled diabetes to the survival rates for well-controlled diabetics, as well as for patients without the disease. The results?
None of the dental implants in the uncontrolled diabetes group failed, whereas one implant in each of the other groups did. This lead the researchers to conclude that poor blood sugar control may not affect the outcome of implant surgery at all.
Are You a Candidate for Dental Implants?
If you are healthy enough to undergo a routine dental procedure such as a tooth extraction, you probably can have successful implant surgery too.
It’s important that you tell us about your diabetes, as the disease could affect your treatment plan. Our doctors will consider all of your risk factors to help you determine the optimal procedures to restore your missing teeth.
If you would like to learn more, please call our Salt Lake City office today to schedule a consultation. The experienced oral surgeons of Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery of Utah understand the complexities of chronic illness and can help you decide whether dental implants are right for you.