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Can Diabetic Patients Benefit From Dental Implants?

A question we receive often at Bergen Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery is whether “implants will work” in patients with diabetes. Historically, the answer to this question has not been so straightforward, but a recent study by the Journal of the Academic Dental Association reveals that even patients with high-blood-sugar issues can not only undergo implant surgery safely, but also benefit from long term implant success.

The study was led by a professor in the Department of Periodontics, School of Dentistry at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. It followed 110 patients after dental implant surgery to determine how successful their implants were over time. The group was divided into patients without diabetes, with controlled diabetes, and with poorly controlled diabetes.

Each patient had two implants placed in the lower jaw followed by a full set of dentures anchored to those implants. Then, the researchers followed the patients for at least a year. The study found no significant differences between the nondiabetic and well-controlled groups. The group with poorly controlled diabetes required slightly longer to heal after implants.

Diabetes can cause problems such as:

  • Altered bone formation
  • Increased chance for infection
  • Complicated wound healing

Previous studies (of much shorter duration) have indicated that implants are less stable for patients with uncontrolled diabetes, leading doctors to generally advise against them. This study, however, focused on understanding the longer-term outcomes—and the news is positive for those with diabetes who want dental implants.

Bottom line: while having poorly controlled diabetes might mean a longer healing time, it doesn’t mean that dental implants cannot achieve a 100% survival rate. Each patient is different, however, and dental implants in the maxilla might be affected differently.

To discuss your unique situation, call us. We can schedule an appointment to go over your medical history and determine a dental implant surgical plan for you. Reach us at one of our offices: Hackensack: 201.343.8297, Westwood: 201.664.5656, or Ridgewood: 201.444.4137.