By David Hudnall, DMD
Patients who have diabetes often have special concerns when it comes to receiving dental treatment and maintaining oral health. Because invasive dentistry can make the mouth sore, a diabetic may not recover from treatment as quickly as someone who enjoys excellent health. Today, we will focus on dentures and answer the question, “Can diabetics get dentures?”
Understanding Diabetes and Its Impact on Dental Health
Those who suffer from the disease are all too familiar with the circulatory and nerve-related symptoms that can accompany diabetes. While Diabetes Type 1 is an autoimmune form of the disease that prevents the body from making insulin, Diabetes Type 2 is characterized by the body’s inability to effectively utilize insulin production to maintain sugar levels within a normal range. Diabetes Type 2 is far more common in the general population and is often related to certain risk factors, including a sedentary lifestyle, excessive weight, and heredity. Regardless of its origin, diabetes affects the eyes, the peripheral nervous system, the kidneys, the heart, and other critical systems of the body.
Blood glucose levels in high concentrations weaken the ability of white blood cells to fight infection effectively in response to injury or inflammation. This is why diabetics often lose toes or a limb after a seemingly minor wound. It is also why diabetics are more susceptible to losing their teeth to periodontal disease (gum disease). Living with missing teeth and struggling with continual tooth loss can be debilitating.
Common Oral Symptoms
Diabetes causes problems for the peripheral circulatory system, which means that your gums will have less of a nutrient supply and a lowered ability to fight off infections. Periodontal disease is an infection of the gum tissue that has progressed beyond the reversible stage (gingivitis) to the point of destroying the bone that supports the teeth. Periodontal disease must be arrested from further progression in order to preserve your natural teeth. Without proper bone support, teeth become loose and eventually fall out. When diabetes is not well controlled, a periodontal infection can quickly spread and get out of hand. Diabetes can also interfere with the treatment of periodontal disease by slowing the healing process.
Diabetes causes other dental problems, including dry mouth and the fungal infection that causes thrush, the formation of painful white patches in your mouth. Dry mouth itself leads to soreness, ulcers, infections, and tooth decay. In addition, having excess quantities of sugar in your bloodstream also concentrates the level of glucose in your saliva, which further promotes tooth decay. Since smoking constricts the blood vessels that carry white blood cells to the source of infection, periodontal disease and all of the other problems mentioned here can be even more pronounced if the diabetic patient is also a smoker.
Can Diabetics Get Dentures?
There is no relation between wearing dentures and diabetes. Yes, diabetics can get dentures if the treatment is necessary and appropriate. For example, if you have severe diabetes and advanced periodontal disease, it may be advantageous to remove your teeth and replace missing teeth. By removing the source of infection, it is possible to restore the mouth to an improved state of health. In this case, a diabetic getting dentures may be their best option.
While uncontrolled diabetes is a contraindication for oral surgery and dental implant surgery, it is possible for diabetics to have dental implants and implant-supported dentures. The most important factor when it comes to dental treatment for patients with diabetes is the level of control of the disease. Healing is facilitated, and implant failure is less likely when diabetes is well-controlled. Since diabetes is a progressive disease that doesn’t just go away on its own, it must be managed and monitored throughout your life. The better your diabetes is controlled with lifestyle changes, good nutrition, and medication, the fewer symptoms you are likely to experience, dentally and otherwise.
The Process of Getting Dentures for Diabetics
The overall process of getting dentures is no different for diabetics than for any other dental patient. Depending on the type of diabetes medication that you take and your history of blood sugar fluctuations, the dentist may want to undergo dental treatment at a time when your blood sugar will be least affected. Denture impressions are generally not an issue and can be performed at most any time of day.
However, if you need a procedure that requires local anesthetic, such as an extraction, you will want to do this at a time that will not affect your normal medication and eating routine. Remember, most people remain numb for two or three hours after receiving dental treatment.
Managing Diabetes and Dental Health After Getting Dentures
Whether a patient is receiving partial dentures, traditional dentures, or other forms of denture treatment, these are the general dental care options.
Maintain Glucose Levels
Maintain your blood sugar levels within a normal range. Diabetes patients with well-controlled blood sugar levels have the same success rates with dentures as non-diabetics.
Make sure your dentures remain comfortable and fit properly without slipping. Since minor denture sores can develop into big problems for diabetic patients, it is important to minimize irritation and other fit-related issues. If dentures are uncomfortable or don’t fit properly, have them adjusted, relined, or replaced.
Take care of your dentures. Better cleaning and care for your dentures will result in less risk for infection.
Likewise, closely monitor the condition of your mouth. If you notice symptoms such as swelling, bleeding gums, chronic bad breath, chapped corners of the mouth, or burning tissue, see your dental professional right away. Your dentist may want to prescribe medications or treatments, such as saliva substitutes, antifungal medications, or ointments, to help restore your mouth to a healthy state.
Finally, refrain from smoking. Not only is smoking bad for your general health, but it also makes it more difficult for your gum tissue to receive nutrients from the blood supply to maintain a healthy state.
Advice for Healing and Adaptation
Adjustments are a normal part of getting dentures, especially immediate dentures. After your teeth have been removed, the gum tissue and underlying bone will shrink and change shape. This will cause dentures to rub against sensitive tissues. Don’t put up with discomfort thinking that the problem will go away. Dental issues typically don’t go away and usually get worse when ignored. If you are a diabetic, now is not the time to “tough it out”. See your dentist for an adjustment, temporary reline, or dental implant therapy to relieve sore spots. The success of your recovery depends on it.
For diabetics whose gums have fully healed, there is nothing like well-fitting, high-quality dentures made using digital production methods for improved comfort. These dentures generally fit so well when delivered that they require few, if any, adjustments for them to be comfortable. Wearing top-of-the-line dentures can ensure that your dentures remain free from rubbing or irritating sensitive tissues for a longer period of time, reducing the chances of suffering from a sore mouth.
Tips for Preventing Dental Problems in Diabetics
The American Dental Association generally advises diabetics not to wear their dentures all of the time. The tissues inside of your mouth need time for rest and exposure to air in order to remain healthy. Patients who insist on wearing dentures 24/7 often end up with thrush, a fungal infection that is a common complication for diabetics who wear dentures. Denture stomatitis, an extremely sore mouth caused by dentures, is almost twice as common for diabetics as it is for the general population.
Caring for your dentures is of paramount importance for anyone who wears dentures. Brushing your dentures daily with liquid soap and water or a paste specially made for cleaning dentures is essential for removing fungus and bacteria that can lead to mouth infections. Likewise, clean the inside surfaces of your mouth with a soft bristle brush or damp washcloth to disrupt the overgrowth of bacteria and fungus from the tissues and tongue. The cleaning action also serves to stimulate blood flow to the gum tissue and bone, which keeps them healthy and less susceptible to resorption.
Premier Dentures at European Denture Center
Why play games with your health? Poor dental health can be the result of seemingly unrelated health issues. The dental professionals at European Denture Center are truly concerned about how your overall health impacts your dental health. We’ll take the time to review your health history and listen to your concerns, recommending the best approach for treatment. Whether it is our advanced comfort dentures, denture implants, or some other form of dental therapy, our caring team has your best interest at heart!