It's All Connected
The development of periodontal disease may reflect the presence of other problems related to BG control such as retinopathy.
Retinopathy and dental problems are closely related. If you look at a population that is having eye problems, that same population is likely to have dental problems. If a person is diagnosed with retinopathy, they should make sure that their mouth is being examined and the gums are healthy. Conversely, if there is serious gum disease there may be other diabetic complications taking place in the body.
Problems that begin elsewhere in the body should also provide clues for health care professionals. The presence of microalbuminuria and neuropathy are signals to check the mouth for potential complications.
Once at the dentist, voice concerns and report any abnormality, such as gingival bleeding. Healthy gums are usually light pink, snug around the tooth and don't bleed.
If an infection is already present, it must be treated before any significant procedures can be attempted. Once diabetes is under good control, complex oral procedures can be performed without complication.
Since periodontal disease can lead to tooth loss, many patients are fitted for dentures. Patients wearing complete dentures should see the dentist once a year to examine all soft tissue areas. Partial dentures require attention to hygiene just like real teeth. They need to be removed and cleaned daily.
Wearing dentures continuously and failing to take the proper precautions can promote the growth of mouth fungus (candidal colonization) leading to thrush.
Dentures may also be ill fitting and uncomfortable. This is because the gums of people with diabetes may be especially sensitive. This in turn makes eating, and maintaining good health and proper BG control more difficult.
Dental implants, and implant supported dentures or partials, can be another viable option for tooth replacement for people with diabetes.