Tips To Help Diabetics Recover From Dental Implant Surgery

Posted on: 29 January 2015

According to the World Health Organization, 9% of adults have diabetes. Diabetes is a disease that has a lot of complications, one of which is the loss of teeth. The National Institutes of Health says that periodontal disease is the sixth most common complication of those who are diabetic.

Periodontal disease is a disease of the gums and can cause people to lose their teeth. Many diabetics have sought dental implants to replace missing teeth only to be turned away as not being a good candidate. If you have experienced this, you may be interested to know that it is possible to get dental implants. 

New Research Suggests Dental Implants Can Be Successful In Diabetics

Up until recently, it was believed that diabetics were not good candidates for dental implants due to the delayed healing that diabetics often experience. The School of Dentistry at the University of Texas Health Science Center conducted a study of 19 diabetic patients with dental implants. None of the dental implants failed during the first year after surgery. 

A Recovery Period of 4 Months 

In the study, the School of Dentistry allowed for a 4-month healing period before placing mandibular overdentures on the mandibular dental implants. Given that delayed healing is a complication of diabetes, it is important to allow for optimal time for the healing process to complete. This allows for complete osseointegration of the dental implants to complete, and the soft tissues to heal. Osseointegration is the natural way bone grows around a foreign object that has been placed in the bone. This allows for the dental implant to strongly adhere to the bone. 

Possible Complications During Recovery 

Since diabetics tend to have low salivary flow and a high risk of bacterial infection, medication may be prescribed. Saliva is important because it helps you eat food and it helps fight germs, in addition to keeping your mouth comfortably moist. Saliva has proteins and minerals that help combat tooth decay by protecting tooth enamel. 

Antibiotics, salivary stimulants and oral moisturizers can help reduce the risks of complications. Be sure to take all medications as prescribed by your dentist and/or oral surgeon to reduce your risks of complications. 

Eating to Promote Recovery 

After dental implant surgery you will want to eat soft foods, especially if you have an implant abutment. This is a small piece of metal that protrudes out of the gums from the dental implant. Chewing directly on the abutment should be avoided so the osseointegration of the implant is not interfered with and the soft tissues surrounding the abutment can heal. 

A soft food diet can be gradually increased in texture upon direction from your dentist or oral surgeon at each follow-up visit after dental implant surgery. Of course, you will need to stick within the strict guidelines of a diabetic diet to control your disease. 

Cleaning Your Oral Cavity During Recovery

It's important to keep your teeth and oral cavity clean at all times, especially following dental implant surgery. Since you are a diabetic, you have a higher risk of bacterial infections. Carefully brush and floss your remaining teeth several times each day. Rinse your mouth with a mouthwash after each meal to remove any food particles and bacteria. Your dentist or oral surgeon may recommend a prescription-strength anti-bacterial mouthwash. 

The recovery period after your dental implant surgery is crucial to achieve a successful result. Depending on how well you take care of your oral cavity and your overall health, your recovery period may be longer or shorter than the recommended four months. Follow your dentist, like Dale D. Lentz DDS, or oral surgeon's recovery guidelines for the best results.