Implants Successful in Patients with Uncontrolled Diabetes

Dec 17, 2014, by Dr. Becky Coats

It’s been a recommendation for years: patients with diabetes who want dental implants need to have their blood sugar levels under control. If not, the dental implant may not integrate with the bone, there is an increased risk of infection due to gum disease, and, overall, there’s a higher risk of failure.

Now a new study says that dental implants work just fine in patients with uncontrolled diabetes.

100% Success Rate

The new study, performed by researchers at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio looked at 117 patients, each of whom received two mandibular implants, for a total of 234 implants. The dental implants were loaded by an overdenture after four months allowed for integration with the jawbone. Then all patients were seen again for a one-year follow up. It was at this one-year follow-up where survival rates were determined, though seven patients didn’t make it to this final follow up.

Remarkably, the group of 19 patients with poorly controlled blood sugar had the highest dental implant survival rate: 100%. The 47 individuals without diabetes had a 99% survival rate, and the 44 with well controlled diabetes had a survival rate of 98.9. Statistically, that’s a dead heat, and this study supports the conclusion that dental implants can be successful in diabetic patients with poor blood sugar control as in patients with good control or no diabetes.

This contradicts a number of previous studies, as shown in a couple of recent reviews.

Not Without Complications

However, the study doesn’t say that there are no problems with placing dental implants in patients with uncontrolled diabetes. There were several patients who experienced delayed stabilization of their dental implants, which postponed the placement of overdentures. These occurred in patients with poorly controlled diabetes, and was directly attributed to lack of blood sugar control.

This is instructive, though, because it shows that even if diabetes leads to osseointegration problems, it doesn’t necessarily lead to dental implant failure.

What’s crucial is that we understand all risk factors and take them into account to ensure the highest likelihood of dental implant success. If you want to learn how to maximize your chance of success, please call (817) 481-6888 for a Grapevine implant dentist at Grapevine Dental Care.