When You Visit the Dentist, Be Wary: Diabetes Meds and Dental Materials Sometimes Don't Mix

Mar 27, 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 clinical, peer-reviewed journal of the Academy of General Dentistry, diabetic patients especially need to communicate special needs to their dentists. This is because of harmful interactions that could occur with materials and medications used at dental appointments.

“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.”

The AGD encourages all patients, besides people with diabetes, to give their dentists as much information as possible about their current medications. “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,” says 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 your 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, bring a blood sugar monitoring device to the appointment and inform the dentist if you feel symptoms associated with low blood sugar.

Source: Academy of General Dentistry

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Categories: Blood Sugar, Diabetes, Diabetes, Insulin, Oral Health

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Posted by busybeemom on 26 March 2008

I appreciate the note of caution, but it would be helpful to know which medications and materials used by the dentist are most likely to cause problems.

Posted by Anonymous on 27 March 2008

As a research associate at the University of Cincinnati, Institute for the Study of Health, I found this article troubling. The sensationalized headline and blurb had nothing to do with the article itself. It never listed the diabetes medications that interact with dental materials. Nor did it list the dental materials in question. What published study did you cite? What was the actual name of the study? Who are the authors? I researched this and came up with a possibility - but am not sure where you got the information as to which diabetes medications interact with which dental materials. I work with many dentists and they agree that it is important for them to know what medications all of their patients are taking. They do take into account the length of an appointment for a person with diabetes. However, they too would like to know exactly which diabetes medications adversely interact with the dental materials they use. And, what are those dental materials?

Posted by Anonymous on 1 April 2008

I too, am troubled by the lack of information in this article. The article is no more than a warning headline. WHen I read the article, I expected to get some information, what interactions? what materials? Most diabetics are aware that they must see a dentist regularly, and inform the dentist of all medications. What was the point of this article? We diabetcs take this very seriously and would appreciate serious, knowledgeable information being dispensed.

Posted by Anonymous on 10 April 2008

I am sure the materials and medication interractions are so great to write them all down. My recommendations are look for a dentist who can put the needs of diabetics first. One whom is qualified to treat the needs of diabetics.


Posted by Anonymous on 30 March 2009

According to the CDC, about 1 in 12, or approximately 8% of the population of the United States has diabetes. Just about every person knows somebody with the disease, as 1 in 3 families are affected by diabetes. Of the nearly 24 million people with diabetes disease, about 6.2 million people remain undiagnosed primarily due to ineffective or lack of screening. 62 million people are pre-diabetic and many of them do not know it. Many will become diabetic without early identification and life style changes now. Type 2 diabetes accounts for about 93% of all diabetes and which used to be seen only in adults. Within the past decade, more and more cases are being diagnosed in children. The reason is clear – lack of exercise and excessive caloric consumption leads to obesity, which is a precursor for pre-diabetes. The Diabetes Risk Assessment (DRA) Kit, through Healthy Heart Dentistry® combines a rapid blood glucose test to determine fasting blood sugar levels with a confirmatory, laboratory analyzed hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) test to check for long term glucose control. This DRA Test Kit, currently the only FDA-Approved test on the market that combines the testing of both glucose and HbA1c scores in a single drop of blood, and the only risk assessment to identify pre-diabetes, provides all the materials needed to collect and test the blood sample. The test can be taken in the comfort of the patients’ home at a fraction of the cost of a hospital or blood lab. A professional laboratory report of the results and diabetes risk is sent to the patient. Through a Healthy Heart Dentistry initiative in July of 2008, children were given the Diabetes Risk Assessment test in 6 busy retail outlets as part of their back-to-school physical exams. The results over a 30 day period showed that 27% of the children had pre-diabetes and 2 children had undiagnosed diabetes. In many cases, bleeding gums is the very first sign of diabetes. Talk to your dentist today about getting a thorough periodontal health exam, and ask your dentist if he/she has joined in the Healthy Heart Dentistry mission to reverse this diabetes epidemic in our program called Dentistry Against Diabetesâ„¢.

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