Are Dental Implants Safe For Diabetics?

Are Dental Implants Safe For Diabetics?

March 11, 2024

Not only are dental implants safe for diabetics, forgoing dentures for more permanent dental implants can improve the health of those with diabetes.

In addition to helping you comfortably maintain a well-balanced diet, implants eliminate the inflammation, irritation and infections that are more common with dentures. This minimizes the risk of dangerous periodontal disease as well as post-implant infections and complications. While it’s true that those with diabetes may require special pre- and post-implant care, in order to minimize complications, recent studies show that dental implants are safe for those with controlled diabetes as long as their overall health complies with standard, pre-procedure health guidelines.

If you have diabetes, feel free to reach out to us at Los Gatos

How Does Diabetes Affect My Ability to Get Dental Implants?

According to a 2016 systematic review of studies on dental implants and diabetes, researchers found that, “When diabetes is under well control, implant procedures are safe and predictable with a complication rate similar to that of healthy patients.” This great news for adults with diabetes who want a safe and more lasting alternative to dentures.

Here are some of the considerations for those who want to ensure dental implants are a safe choice for their mouths:

Do you have type 1 or type 2 diabetes?

Type 1 diabetes can be more difficult to control. This means the risks and failure rates associated with type 1 diabetes and dental implants is slightly higher than it is for those with type 2 diabetes. That doesn’t mean those with type 1 diabetes can’t have dental implants. However, your oral surgeon will be even more diligent in reviewing medical and dental records, assessing your general health and learning more about your history of infection and your body’s typical timeline when it comes to healing.

Also, in patients with diabetes – age may matter more than usual. This is because the longer you’ve had diabetes, the more prone you are to infections and slower healing processes. If you have diabetes and are interested in getting dental implants, sooner is definitely better than later in most cases.

Is your diabetes under control?

While the systematic review of multiple studies showed patients with controlled diabetes have no more risk of complications or failures than their non-diabetic counterparts, it also shows that patients with un-controlled diabetes had higher rates of both post-procedure infection and implant failure.

Dental implants are embedded into the gums and the bones of the jaws. They rely on the body’s natural healing processes to rebuild jaw bone tissues, which fuses the bone around the posts (osseiointegration). Then, the gums must heal as well. This complete integration into the jaw and gums is what makes dental implants so much like real teeth, and a much more permanent solution than dentures.

Because the healing process can be slower for those with diabetes, patients with un-controlled diabetes have a more difficult time healing. Thus, your oral surgeon will help you get back on track, creating a plan to get your diabetes under control and ensuring you’re doing all you can to prevent gum disease. Once those pieces of the puzzle are in place, we’ll meet again to see whether or not your mouth is ready for dental implants.

Are you generally healthy?

One of the most common questions we get from patients is, “am I too old for dental implants?” In fact, it’s your health – rather than your age – that qualifies you as a dental implant candidate. Your oral surgeon may not be able to schedule dental implants at this time if you:

  • Have existing gum or periodontal disease
  • Have very low bone density (although we can discuss bone grafting options with you if you’re a good fit for that procedure)
  • Seem unwilling or unable to patiently navigate the post-implant period, which requires diligent care and careful attention to what you eat and put in your mouth, allowing the implants to heal completely
  • Are a smoker – not only is it harder for smokers to heal, the sucking action required to smoke can create issues that compromise healing and the implants’ ability to be successful. In most cases, smokers must be committed to quitting for the duration of the process – which could mean a matter of months. But hey, if you make it without smoking for that long you might as well keep the momentum going –and we’ll consider ourselves part of the inspiration for kicking the habit once and for all!
  • Have been treated for oral cancer or taken bisphosphate medications in the past
  • Have a condition or disease that compromises your ability to heal

All of these and other considerations are discussed during your initial dental implant consultation. Whenever possible, we work with patients unable to immediately move forward with dental implants, co-creating an actionable health plan that works up to eventually getting the dental implants they desire when their mouths and body are ready.

Dental implants can help you maintain a diabetes-healthy diet
Have you noticed that the healthiest diets for individuals with diabetes include lots of fresh, whole foods that require extra chewing and grinding mechanics? The permanent nature of dental implants – which are securely anchored in your jaw and gum – makes it as easy and painless to eat the foods you want when compared with dentures.

Dentures are much more prone to moving around, causing gum tenderness and/or making it more difficult to eat foods that require stronger resistance when it comes to pulling, tearing or grinding certain foods – like nutritious, high-fiber vegetables, for instance. When people suffer from the poor fit, irritation and discomfort caused by dentures, they’re more apt to eat less or eat the wrong foods (softer, processed, higher-carb options), which can make it more difficult to keep blood sugar levels in check.

Are you interested in learning more about whether dental implants are safe with your diabetes diagnosis? Contact us here at Los Gatos Oral & Facial Surgery and schedule a consultation. We’ll do our best to get your mouth and body in ship shape so you are an ideal candidate for implants.

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