For some 20 years, dentist have been reluctant to place dental implants on patients with diabetes because of problems they often have with slow healing and high infection rates. A recent study by researchers at the UT Health Science Center-San Antonio shows that, with some accommodation, diabetic patients (even those with poorly controlled diabetes, had as high a success rate with implants after one year as patients with no high blood sugar issues.
“The most striking thing to me about the study is that we are not only able to see that dental implants can be successful for patients with diabetes, the that the patients are truly benefiting from them, “ said Thomas Oates, DMD, PhD, who led the study.
The study followed 110 patients, each of whom had two implants placed in the lower jaw, followed later by placement of a full set of dentures anchored to the implants. After the implants were placed patients were followed for at least one year. Three control groups, those with no diabetes, those with controlled diabetes, and those with uncontrolled diabetes, had nearly 100 % implant success rate.
“The study findings showed no significant differences between the non-diabetic and the well-controlled diabetic groups. The group with poorly controlled diabetes required a longer time for the implant to heal before placing the dentures,” said Dr. Oates. For this reason, there was a four month healing time following implantation instead of the usual two months.