One of the great things about dental implants is that practically everyone is a candidate for the procedure. However, there are some conditions that in the past have been seen as making you ineligible for dental implants.

Diabetes was one of these conditions. However, newer research shows that even people with diabetes can have good success with dental implants, especially if their blood sugar levels are well controlled.

Doctor Using Glucometer On Patient's Finger to check blood sugar

Why Diabetes Can Impact Dental Implants

After your dental implant is placed, the implant goes through a process known as osseointegration. This is when the bone literally integrates the dental implant. The implant connects to the bone, making it secure as a natural tooth.

This process may not work as well for people with diabetes. Studies show that people with poorly controlled diabetes experience very low stability during this procedure. And it takes about twice as long to integrate the implant into the bone. It may also cause problems for people who need bone augmentation to make enough bone to secure the implant.

Another problem that people with diabetes face is an increased risk of gum disease. Gum disease is called periodontitis when it impacts your teeth and peri-implantitis when it affects your dental implants, but it’s essentially the same disease. People with poorly controlled diabetes might have four times the risk of peri-implantitis as people without the disease.

Poor bone integration and increased risk of peri-implantitis are both among the most common causes of dental implant failure. So it’s not a surprise that people with poorly controlled diabetes may experience a higher risk of dental implant failure.

How high is that risk? Studies differ, but some show a survival rate as low as 86% after six years, compared to the 93% survival rate after 17 years for dental implants in the general population.

Planning and Management Can Give Good Success

However, that doesn’t mean that people with diabetes can’t get dental implants. It just means that we should take greater care in the process. First, it is important to work to get blood sugar levels under control. The better your control of blood sugar, the more likely you are to have good results. This includes maintaining good blood sugar in the future to help avoid complications like peri-implantitis.

Second, it’s important to make sure you reveal this health condition to your implant dentist. We can’t plan for what we don’t know, and planning is definitely central to success.

During your procedure, we may be more cautious about placing the dental crown or bridge on top of your implant. Because stability can drop more for people with diabetes, placing an early dental crown or bridge is more likely to cause problems. In a similar vein, we might decide to do bone augmentation as a separate procedure and make sure it’s healed before placing implants.

Don’t Assume You’re Not a Candidate

Of course, we can’t know for sure that you’re a candidate before we conduct a detailed exam and look at your medical history. But our point is that you shouldn’t assume that you’re not a candidate for dental implants before you talk to a dentist. Whether you have diabetes, osteoporosis, or have undergone prior cancer treatment, you might still be a candidate for dental implants.

To learn whether you can benefit from dental implants, please call (724) 282-4436 today for an appointment with implant dentist Dr. Bob at Advanced Dentistry of Butler.