Diabetes is increasingly common as there are more than 26 million people with this condition in the United States and more are being diagnosed every day. Diabetes is a condition that affects how the body processes glucose. Normally glucose levels in the blood are regulated by a hormone called insulin which is produced by the pancreas. If the pancreas is unable to produce insulin or if its production isn’t correctly regulated, the amount of glucose in the blood can vary, causing dangerous and life-threatening side effects.
Different Types of Diabetes
There are two different types of diabetes, as Type I is where the pancreas stops producing insulin altogether, whereas in Type II the pancreas doesn’t produce sufficient incident to properly regulate glucose levels or the body fails to respond to the amount of insulin produced. Having blood sugar levels that are too high or too low can cause extensive damage to the body over time, and acute changes to glucose levels can result in a coma which is not from be treated may lead to death. However many people manage to successfully control their diabetes and keep their blood sugar levels relatively normal. In spite of this, diabetes does affect healing and can have quite an impact on dental health.
How Diabetes Affects Dental Health
Diabetics do heal more slowly and because of this any wounds are more prone to becoming infected. It’s thought this slower healing is due to the small blood vessels or capillaries becoming damaged by high glucose levels so they are narrower and stiffer than before which reduces the circulation of blood. Without good circulation, the body is less able to transport healing nutrients to areas where they are needed and isn’t so effective at transporting toxins away from damaged tissues. At the same time, increased levels of glucose can change the body’s inflammatory response which is the way it tries to fight infection and to heal. In people without diabetes, this inflammatory response plays a protective role, but in diabetics this inflammation can become chronic and this does increase the risk of diseases such as periodontal disease.
Diabetes and Its Potential Impact on Dental Implants
This altered response to healing also affects various dental treatments, in particular dental implants. These days it’s becoming increasingly common to use dental implants to replace missing teeth as they are often by far the best choice. However initially there were concerns about the use of dental implants in diabetic patients. Over the past few years there have been quite a few studies conducted into the outcome of implant surgery, comparing diabetics and non-diabetics and those with good or poor blood sugar level controls. These studies have found that provided diabetes is properly controlled, diabetics often enjoy similar rates of success to non-diabetics.
Diabetic Patients at Cosmetic Dentistry Center
Here at the Cosmetic Dentistry Center, we assess anyone wishing to have dental implants extremely carefully. If you do have diabetes it is still worth your while inquiring about dental implants as it’s quite likely that treatment will be suitable provided your diabetes is properly controlled. We will want to know quite a bit about your medical history including your glucose levels over the last few months. Dental implants are such a good way to replace missing teeth so we do want anyone who is fit for treatment to be able to benefit from them.
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