Diabetes mellitus is a group of metabolic diseases that leads to high levels of blood glucose and is caused when the body does not make any or enough insulin, or does not use insulin well. In 2012, it was estimated that 29.1 million people in the U.S. (i.e., 9.3% of the population) had some form of diabetes; of these, the disease was undiagnosed in 8.1 million people, meaning that almost 28% of people with diabetes were undiagnosed.
Diabetic patients can suffer from xerostomia, burning sensations within the mouth, impaired or delayed wound healing, increased incidence of infections, salivary gland enlargement, gingivitis and/or periodontitis. It's important that diabetic patients see a dentist frequently and take proper precautions with their treatment.
What We Can Do
In addition to keeping a close watch on your medical history, our office takes many measures to properly treat patients with diabetes. We are careful to schedule appointments during the morning where there is a decreased risk of hypoglycemia. Any major procedures are performed cautiously and in collaboration with a patient's physician, when necessary, to avoid complications.
In general, diabetic patients lose teeth to periodontal disease -- not cavities. For this reason, our office's diabetic dentistry program highly recommends 3 month check-up appointments with deep scaling and root planing to prevent periodontal disease and the ensuing loss of teeth. Diabetic patients also tend to suffer from dry mouth and halitosis. We offer treatments such as periodontal trays with AO Gel to supply gums with antioxidants, speed healing and prevent dry mouth.
For more severe cases of diabetes, our office works closely with periodontist, Dr. Jin Kim, to plan a safe and effective line of treatment. This treatment often includes use of lasers to kill bacteria deep that could damage bone levels and teeth deep within the gums.
We advise our diabetic patients to watch their blood glucose around the time of their appointment; however, in case of emergencies, snacks and oral glucose tablets are kept on site and our staff is well trained to help patients with hypoglycemia.
If you have diabetes and are concerned for your oral health, call our office to schedule an appointment today.