Medications plus dental materials may equal infection for diabetic patients

March 12, 2008

People who live with diabetes on a daily basis are usually instructed to eat right, maintain regular physical activity, and if necessary, take medication. What many may not know is that these medications that help control healthy insulin levels may lead to unexpected events at the dentist’s office.

According to a study in the November/December 2007 issue of General Dentistry, the AGD’s clinical, peer-reviewed journal, diabetic patients especially need to communicate special needs to their dentists. This is due to harmful interactions that could occur because of the materials and medications used at dental appointments.

According to the study, more than 194 million people worldwide have diabetes, and health officials estimate that this figure will double or triple in less than 20 years. “It is imperative that diabetic patients inform their dentist of their needs in order to anticipate medication interactions and physical reactions to treatment,” says Lee Shackelford, DDS, FAGD, spokesperson for the AGD. “The doctor must know if the patient is taking insulin, and has taken their daily dose of insulin, in order to anticipate the length of the appointment.”

It does not stop, however, with diabetic patients; providing dentists with as much information as possible about current medications is essential for everyone’s oral health. “It is important that your dentist is aware of all of the medications that you are taking, including prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, and herbal drugs as they may interact with agents that your dentist may use for your dental treatment,” advises lead author of the study, James Little, DMD, MS.

“Talk with your dentist if you are concerned about how the medications you are taking could affect your oral health,” advises Dr. Shackelford. “Open communication is the best way to ensure that your dentist gives you the best treatment possible.”

Steps diabetic patients can take to ensure optimal dental care:

-- Find a dentist who is aware of the needs of diabetic patients.
-- See the dentist on a regular basis and alert him or her of any changes in health status and medications.
-- Inform the dentist of any sores, swellings, or areas of redness in the mouth, as well as any painful areas in the mouth.
-- Eat a normal meal prior to the dental appointment, take all diabetic medications on schedule, bringing a blood sugar monitoring device to the appointment, and inform the dentist if symptoms associated with low blood sugar are felt.

Source: Academy of General Dentistry

Explore further: Medical benefits of dental floss unproven

Related Stories

Dentists tapped for new role: Drug screenings

August 13, 2015

A visit to the dentist has the potential to be more than a checkup of our teeth as patients are increasingly screened for medical conditions like heart disease and diabetes. A new study by researchers at Columbia University's ...

Recommended for you

How the finch changes its tune

August 3, 2015

Like top musicians, songbirds train from a young age to weed out errors and trim variability from their songs, ultimately becoming consistent and reliable performers. But as with human musicians, even the best are not machines. ...

Cow embryos reveal new type of chromosome chimera

May 27, 2016

I've often wondered what happens between the time an egg is fertilized and the time the ball of cells that it becomes nestles into the uterine lining. It's a period that we know very little about, a black box of developmental ...

Shaving time to test antidotes for nerve agents

February 29, 2016

Imagine you wanted to know how much energy it took to bike up a mountain, but couldn't finish the ride to the peak yourself. So, to get the total energy required, you and a team of friends strap energy meters to your bikes ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.