Dental implants for diabetics
Diabetics heal slowly and often face high infection rates. For some 20 years, these reasons have kept dentists from placing dental implants in patients with diabetes.
But a new study shows that with some accommodations, diabetic patients—even those with poorly controlled diabetes—had as high a success rate with implants after one year as patients with healthy sugar levels.
When a tooth is lost, a dental implant, usually made of metal or another material, can be permanently implanted in the jawbone to become the base for a false tooth.
“The most striking thing to me about the study is that we are not only able to see that dental implants can be successful for patients with diabetes, but that the patients are truly benefiting from them,” said Thomas Oates, D.M.D., Ph.D., interim associate dean for research and assistant dean for clinical research in the School of Dentistry, who led the study published in the Journal of the American Dental Association.
The study evaluated 110 patients, including those without diabetes, and those with both controlled and poorly controlled diabetes. Each patient had two implants placed in the lower jaw followed later by a full set of dentures anchored to the implants. After the implants were placed, patients were followed for at least one year. Diabetics, like nondiabetic patients, had nearly 100 percent implant success rates.
“The study findings showed no significant differences between the nondiabetic and well-controlled diabetic groups. The group with poorly controlled diabetes required a longer time for the implant to heal before placing the dentures,” Dr. Oates said. For this reason, there was a four-month healing time following implantation for all groups instead of the usual two months. All patients were prescribed antibiotics and a chlorhexidine gluconate mouth rise following implantation to guard against infection.