Information on Type 2 Diabetes and Oral Complications

Type 2 Diabetes and Oral Complications

Dentists play a major role in providing oral care as part of the health care team for Type 2 Diabetes patients.  In fact, they sometimes detect undiagnosed cases of Type 2 Diabetes and refer patients for further evaluation.

Dentists also play an important role in supporting patients in smoking-cessation programs and can help the patient’s metabolic control of Type 2 Diabetes by working with the physician, nutritionist and dental hygienist. For example, in consultation with a patient’s physician, the dentist can discuss the indications and contraindications of medications for the treatment of oral complications in patients with systemic complications resulting from Type 2 Diabetes .

Type 2 Diabetes  is a complex and pernicious condition for which there is no definitive cure. The oral complications of uncontrolled Type 2 Diabetes can be devastating. These may include gingivitis and periodontal disease, salivary gland dysfunction, and increased susceptibility to bacterial, viral and oral fungal infections, abscesses, loss of teeth, impaired ability to wear dental prostheses, taste impairment, and burning mouth syndrome.

If you’re a patient with Type 2 Diabetes it’s important that you keep your medical records up-to-date. Let your dentist know:

  • If you have been diagnosed with diabetes;
  • If your Type 2 Diabetes is under control;
  • If there has been any change in your medical history, and;
  • The names of all prescription and over-the-counter drugs you take.
  • Keep your dentist and hygienist informed of any changes in your condition and any medication changes.
  • Postpone any non-emergency dental procedures if your blood sugar is not in good control.

The patient with diabetes who receives good medical care and maintains good blood sugar control may generally receive any indicated dental treatment. The adult and well-controlled Type 2 Diabetes patient who is without systemic complications should be treated similarly to a patient without diabetes. For example, antibiotics should not be prescribed unless absolutely necessary.  Patients with systemic complications resulting from diabetes may require modification of the dental treatment plan after consulting with the patient’s physician.

 

Resources:  JADA Journal of the American Dental Association October 2003

American Diabetes Association

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