New Study Says Dental Implants OK For Patients With Uncontrolled Diabetes
A new study has revealed that dental implants in patients with uncontrolled diabetes is a safe and often successful practice, despite previous beliefs.
Thomas W. Oates Jr, DMD, PhD. led the study, which showed no connection between elevated blood sugar levels and implant failure. The study was published in this month’s issue of the Journal of the American Dental Association.
Diabetes comes with a number of risk factors that could potentially cause dental implants to fail, or increase the risk of infection in patients. People with uncontrolled diabetes have more trouble healing from injuries, increased risk of infections, poor bone growth and, often, more than one chronic disease. For these reasons, many dentists have shied away from giving dental implants to patients with uncontrolled diabetes.
Some previous studies have shown poor implant survival rates in patients with uncontrolled diabetes, as well, but Dr. Oates says that many of these studies looked at implants before the process was completed, according to Medscape.
In order to more accurately study the long-term survival rates of dental implants in these patients, Dr. Oates and his colleagues conducted a study comparing three different groups of patients over a year.
The team divided their study participants into a group in which no one had diabetes, a group in which everyone had well-controlled diabetes and a group in which participants were considered to have uncontrolled diabetes. These groups were determined by each participant’s glycated hemoglobin levels.
Each participant “received two mandibular implants to retain mandibular over dentures,” according to Medscape, which were placed after four months of healing and re-checked after one year.
Dental practitioners, who were unaware which patients had diabetes, examined the well-being of the implants in the first four months after they were placed, as well as three, six and 12 months afterwards. They checked for signs that might indicate implant failure, and those that did not have any of these signs were determined to be successful implants.
The observations over a one-year period revealed that the dental implants in all of the patients with uncontrolled diabetes had survived.
While the implants were successful, the initial healing process in these patients was longer than the other groups. The group of patients with uncontrolled diabetes had an average healing time of 7.3 months, versus 3.8 months for the group without diabetes, according to Medscape. That said, the team of researchers said this did not affect the overall survival rate and wasn’t reason enough to deny dental implants to this type of patient.
The study’s findings do not apply to every patient with uncontrolled diabetes, but they do dispel the previous beliefs that these patients should not receive implants.