How Does Diabetes Affect Dental Implant Treatment?

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Dental implants are one of the best tooth replacement options, with a 10-year success rate of around 95%. However, there are several factors that can impact the success or failure of dental implants, including diabetes. Dr. Byron Scott at Springhill Dental Center in Mobile specializes in dental implants. Here’s what you need to know about how does diabetes affect dental implant treatment, as well as the ways in which dental professionals can work with patients to minimize the risks and maximize the benefits of this tooth replacement solution.

Success of dental implants in diabetic patients is comparable to the general population

The caveat is that the patient must have their diabetes under metabolic control. As long as the condition is controlled, the success rate of dental implants in patients with diabetes is approximately 96.4% to 100%. This refers to both type 1 and type 2 diabetes.

There are two primary differences between diabetic and healthy patients:

  • Diabetic patients are required to undergo a course of antibiotics prior to dental implant placement.
  • Osseointegration is faster in healthy patients than in diabetic patients.

Keeping the condition under control is critical in the success of dental implants

High blood sugar can have a negative impact on your nerves, which results in poor blood circulation. This is the primary reason that healing is typically slower in diabetic patients than in healthy ones. Therefore, it is critical to keep your condition under control and the best way to determine control is to test A1C levels regularly. Ideally, A1C should be under 7.

In addition to the initial surgery, dental implants require jawbone regeneration. If the body cannot do this, the implants may become loose or infected, leading to implant failure.

Patients with diabetes do not qualify for one-day implants

When it comes to one-day dental implants, quick healing is critical. Since patients with diabetes generally heal slower, immediate load implants are not ideal. Traditional implants are recommended for patients with diabetes because of the extended healing time between the different stages of treatment. This does mean that you may have a period of time where you have no restoration at all, or you have temporary dental crowns.

If you need a full-mouth restoration, experts recommend All-on-4, which allows patients with jawbone loss to qualify for implants. The implant screws are angled, which puts less pressure on the ridge.

Patients who have had diabetes for some time are at an increased risk of implant failure

The longer you have had diabetes, the slower your body heals. In addition, this condition increases your risk of infection. In order to heal properly, dental implants need a clean environment- any type of contamination could increase the risk of infection and failure. If you have diabetes and you are interested in dental implants, it’s important to act as quickly as possible. Younger patients have a greater chance of success.

Patients with type 1 diabetes are more likely to experience implant failure

In order to qualify for dental implants, diabetic patients must have their condition under control. Patients with type 1 diabetes have more difficulty controlling their condition than type 2 due to the rate of insulin consumption.

However, while patients with type 1 diabetes are at a higher risk of implant failure, it is not impossible to restore their smile with implants- but it does require more effort.

Implant failure is more likely to occur early than late

Implant failure may occur during the healing stages or may occur later on. For patients with diabetes, early failure- before osseointegration- is more likely. This is because patients with this condition do not heal as well as healthy patients. The body’s ability to heal is compromised due to the reduction in metabolism and cell turnover.

However, for patients who are able to get through this initial healing, long-term success is similar to healthy patients. Late implant failure is typically due to poor oral hygiene or lifestyle choices such as smoking.

Proper pre and post-implant care can improve the success of dental implants in diabetic patients

The process for getting dental implants differs between patients with diabetes and healthy patients. For example, patients with diabetes typically must undergo a course of antibiotics prior to the surgery.

In addition, chlorhexidine mouthwash may be recommended because the implants are usually coated with a bioactive material and may have a different height and width than natural teeth.

Dental implants are better than conventional dentures for patients with diabetes

Conventional dentures sit on top of the gums and can cause inflammation, irritation, and infections. Dental implants are inserted into the jawbone, acting more like a natural tooth, which means this may be a better option for diabetic patients who heal more slowly.

Peri-implant inflammation is common in patients with diabetes

In order for implants to be successful, A1C must remain under control during and even after the dental implant procedure. If the number increases, inflammation may develop around the implant screw. This can lead to infection and ultimately, implant failure. If you are unable to maintain control of your A1C level, the dentist may determine that it’s best to remove the implant before the gum and jawbone is damaged from infection.

Schedule Your Dental Implant Consultation with Springhill Dental Center Today

While it’s true that there does seem to be a higher rate of implant failure in those with uncontrolled diabetes, the evidence is purely anecdotal. Still, most patients with this condition are motivated to keep their glucose and A1C levels within an acceptable range for a variety of reasons, including the success of their dental implants.

If you have diabetes and are missing teeth, you may be interested in learning more about your tooth restoration options. Schedule your consultation with Dr. Scott and the team at Springhill Dental Center today to learn more. We can help you get your smile and your confidence back.

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What our Patients say about us


My visit was incredible. I had my “All on Four” appliances cleaned, and it was a painless and thorough experience. Dr. Scott and all his staff are very friendly. During the cleaning, Mary was gentle and let me know everything she was doing and how it would feel. She gave me tips on how to clean my implants/appliances better and gave me a small brush to do the underside more effectively. Dr. Scott and Mary suggest cleanings take place every 3 months so I will be back in December.

Bette D.
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Meet Dr. Byron C. Scott

Dr. Byron Scott is a highly-trained and accomplished dentist. He attended The University of Alabama School of Dentistry and subsequently completed numerous Advanced Studies and Trainings. Dr. Scott is Board-Certified by The Academy of General Dentistry and has earned Mastership status (MAGD), an honor shared by only 1% of dentists. He has numerous memberships and associations, including Diplomate status with The American Board of Oral Implantology (D-ABOI) and The International Congress of Oral Implantologists (D-ICOI). Overall, Dr. Scott has dedicated his life and career to helping patients improve their oral health through expert dentistry. His goal is to help each patient keep their smile healthy, attractive, and comfortable for the duration of their lifetime.

Learn More About Dr. Scott
Springhill Dental Health Center

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