Having a damaged or infected tooth extracted by your dentist is never pleasant, but it can be a more complex and risky procedure if you suffer from type 1 or type 2 diabetes. If you are diabetic and have a tooth that may need to be extracted, keeping yourself informed about your specialized needs and potential complications can help you make the best choices when it comes to dental care.
Are Tooth Extractions More Dangerous For Diabetic People?
It is important to stress that diabetic people should not avoid having a tooth or teeth extracted if and when it becomes necessary. Diabetes can weaken the immune system, especially when your blood sugar levels are not tightly controlled, and leaving an infected tooth in your mouth can put you at serious risk of developing a systemic, potentially life-threatening infection.
However, because your immune system may have been weakened by high or low blood sugar levels, you may be more susceptible to developing an infection after the tooth has been extracted. The hole left in your gum tissue by a tooth extraction will take time to heal, and is vulnerable to bacterial or viral infection until the wound closes.
If your blood sugar levels are not at healthy levels, this hole in your gums can take longer to heal than it would for a non-diabetic person, so the risk of infection may last longer than it would otherwise.
Diabetic people may also be more vulnerable to developing dry socket after tooth extraction. This condition occurs when a blood clot fails to form inside the gum hole, leaving the nerves inside exposed and causing intense pain. If your blood sugar levels are not within range, your blood may clot more slowly, making dry socket more likely to occur.
How Can Diabetic People Avoid Complications After Tooth Extraction?
For the most part, diabetic people should take the same aftercare steps as non-diabetic people after tooth extraction. Avoiding sweet sugary foods will help prevent bacterial infection and allow the damaged gum to heal more quickly. You should also avoid smoking and strenuous activity, and keep the extraction site clean during your regular dental hygiene regimen (rinsing the affected area with mouthwash can be particularly helpful).
However, diabetic people should also take extra care to keep their blood sugar levels under control while the gum tissue is healing. Healthy blood sugar levels will allow the gum tissue to heal at a normal rate, minimizing infection risks.
It is also very important to have your tooth extraction performed by a reputable dentist, who will monitor your condition and blood sugar levels before, during, and after the extraction. Your dentist can provide you with a course of antibiotics to be taken before the extraction, which will kill harmful bacteria already present within the mouth and prevent infection.
If you have additional questions about tooth extractions, talk to a dentist in your area.