Have Diabetes And Missing Teeth? Your Tooth Replacement Options

25 September 2015
 Categories: Dentist, Articles

If you are living with diabetes, then you likely know that the disease affects every part of your body, including your teeth and gums. Gum disease is common in people with diabetes, and one in three diabetics develop this disease. Unfortunately, advanced gum disease can lead to loose teeth that either fall out or need to be extracted. If you have diabetes and have lost teeth due to its effects on your gums and teeth, then here is a guide to your tooth replacement options.

1. Dental Implants

It may surprise you that, as a diabetes sufferer, you now have the option of getting dental implants, as some implant specialists have advised against them for diabetes sufferers in the past. The reason they were initially not recommended for people with diabetes is because they were thought to be prone to failure in diabetics with impaired wound-healing abilities.

However, a new study published by the Journal of the American Dental Association led to the conclusion that diabetes sufferers are actually not prone to implant failure as suspected. It is important to work with your dentist to control your gum disease before obtaining implants, though, as implants are still not advised for people suffering from advanced gum disease. But, if your gum disease is mild and under control, then you may be a great dental implant candidate.

So, if you want dental implants and have diabetes, commit to working with your dentist to get your gums healthy, and you can make the dream of having a healthy, beautiful smile again a reality.

2. Full Dentures

The American Dental Association advises against full dentures for diabetes sufferers. This is due to the fact that ill-fitting dentures can lead to mouth sores that become infected. Also, denture wearers are prone to developing thrush on the roofs of their mouths.

While these denture problems can occur in anyone wearing them, any injury you experience as a diabetic is prone to slower healing and has a higher chance of becoming infected compared to a person without diabetes.

3. Fixed Dental Bridges

Another tooth replacement option you do have is a dental bridge. Both traditional bridges and implant-supported bridges are usually given the "okay" by dental health professionals for diabetes sufferers. One traditional dental bridge can replace a missing tooth. However, if you have a few missing teeth in a row, then an implant-supported bridge can help you replace them all with just two implants supporting the bridge.

Implant-supported bridges can help keep the cost of dental implants lower when you have many missing teeth to replace. They can also be a great option when the healthy bone tissue in your mouth varies in different areas. For example, if you have three missing teeth in a row and only two have enough healthy bone tissue to support implants, then instead of grafting bone to just one tooth to help support the implant, two implants can be placed to create a bridge over the tooth without enough bone.

4. Removable Bridges

Removable bridges can be an option for diabetics, because they don't have a full-palate design that increases the chance of oral thrush. Instead, they consist of several false teeth, called pontics, on a small frame that only covers the missing teeth. Just one of these devices can replace several teeth. This type of bridge also needs anchors in the mouth, like fixed bridges do, and those anchors can either be existing healthy teeth or dental implants. The difference between this type of bridge and a fixed bridge is that removable bridges are removed at night to clean and then replaced in the morning. The term "removable bridge" is often used interchangeably with "partial denture," so don't become confused when you encounter both terms. 

While removable bridges are an option for diabetics, experts do warn that removable tooth-replacement options can lead to bone-loss acceleration in the jaw, since removable tooth-replacement devices do not stimulate the jawbone when chewing as much as natural teeth and dental implants do. When this stimulation is not provided, the bone in the jaw can slowly deteriorate. Also, when removable bridges are anchored in your mouth by your natural teeth, the devices can pull at them and cause any loose teeth to become looser. This means that for long-term dental health, dental implants and fixed bridges are better options for most people.

If you have diabetes and missing teeth, then realize that you do have options to replace your teeth and get a healthy smile again. Speak to a dentist or a dental implant specialist, like those found at http://www.owocfamilydentistry.com, to determine what tooth-replacement option is best for you.