Diabetes: Such a Cruel Disease

Author: Michael McCarthy
Michael McCarthy

Michael McCarthy

As the Chief Dental Geek, Michael McCarthy is the vision behind The Dental Geek blog and its purpose. Well known throughout the dental world, our seasoned geek Michael serves on several industry boards. Keep your eyes out for his popular articles and lists about all the most talked about topics in dentistry.
07.23.10 / 3:06 pm

One of my dearest friends is a type 1 diabetes sufferer. She had been incredibly healthy up until the past two years, when she began to experience complications like insulin issues, a detached retina, and bloating. The biggest problem she has experienced, though, is tooth loss. My friend, Amy (name changed), is a beautiful blonde and a very successful businessperson. So far, four of her lower front teeth have been lost. I have noticed this, and finally got up the nerve to talk to her about it.

It was a pretty emotional discussion, and what it comes down to is that dental implants are NOT an answer for her due to bone loss. Amy is 40 years old, and the thought of full dentures is none-too-appealing for her, but most likely the only way for her to smile again. That is her desire: to smile again. She willingly admitted to me that she covers her lower arch. She has mentioned that children have pointed to her mouth and made comments to their parents. What made matters worse, she told me, was that six months ago she went to a new dentist, and the dentist immediately blamed her tooth loss on poor oral health care habits, regardless of the diabetes; now she is just afraid to go to any dental professional.

I have set Amy up with a good prosthodontist friend, and she is ready to explore next steps.

Moral of the story: I am not trying to pick apart the dentist that she saw or Amy’s oral health care habits, but suffering with type 1 diabetes for 40 years is a long haul. Its effects are cruel on the body, even for the most compliant of patients. Also, tooth loss IS related to periodontal disease, but not necessarily because poor oral health habits are involved. I also learned that when one tooth is lost, other teeth might follow, due to a simple breakdown in the chain.

I am fortunate not to be suffering from any lifelong debilitating diseases, and, to be honest, if I were, I wouldn’t know where oral health would place in my hierarchy of needs. Something to think about.

Michael McCarthy

Michael McCarthy

As the Chief Dental Geek, Michael McCarthy is the vision behind The Dental Geek blog and its purpose. Well known throughout the dental world, our seasoned geek Michael serves on several industry boards. Keep your eyes out for his popular articles and lists about all the most talked about topics in dentistry.

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