5. I can't get implants.
I've heard this a lot from people with diabetes and it's just NOT TRUE. People whose diabetes is poorly controlled are not good candidates for any procedures that require healing and that includes implants.
Controlling your diabetes then is a requisite for implant success. Delayed healing doesn't preclude implant placement; it just might mean that longer healing periods are required. That's why your dentist needs to know your numbers and communicate with your diabetes health team.
6. It's too much money.
We spend money on lots of things. People drive fancy cars and take vacations. They have cell phones with data plans. We all spend money based on our priorities. You have to decide what your priorities are and if you're a person with diabetes, your health should be your first priority. Your mouth is part of that equation.
Cost is relative to value and value in dental care is related to comfort, convenience, and results. Sometimes, there's just no shortcut. Sometimes, spending money now will save you much more in the future.
7. It's too late.
I've often heard people in their 70's say that they're "too old to spend the money." Yet I now treat many people in their 80's and 90's, many more than I did 20 or 30 years ago. People are living longer and quality of life really does matter. Is how you chew and enjoy your food important? If it is, it's never too late.
8. They're going to yell or lecture me.
If someone does, you're in the wrong place. Lecturing or making you feel bad is just rude and not constructive. A caring healthcare giver should be supportive of your efforts to regain and maintain your health.
9. It's going to hurt.
Dentistry has changed a lot. There's no need for discomfort during or after procedures. Being diabetic means all efforts should be made to keep your stress levels at minimum levels. Special medications, including anesthetics can be used to help you get the treatment you need in a most comfortable manner.
10. My insurance will cover it.
Dental insurance was never meant to cover "big problem dentistry." If your needs are minimal, your insurance might over some of your costs. If, however, your needs are substantial, insurance has a "yearly" maximum, which might limit their risk or obligation to you. It's not truly insurance as you know it from your medical coverage. You dental insurance is more like a limited rebate program, paying a certain amount based on procedures performed.
Yes, it's unfair, but then again, insurance companies are in the business of making profits. They have shareholders to answer to. Your doctor answers to you.
Remember, take care of your gums (and diabetes too!); communicate with your dentist or hygienist, and know that it is never too late to make oral care your priority.
To everyone' s health and wellness,
Dr. Michael Goldberg
"What The Tooth Fairy Didn't Tell You"
Dr. Goldberg loves helping people and is here to answer your questions about diabetes and your mouth. Just submit your Dental Issues questions for the doctor to Ask an Expert or email him at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dr. Michael J Goldberg is the former Director of Columbia Presbyterian Hospital's General Practice Residency Program and a principal in Manhattan Dental Health. He is the author of "What The Tooth Fairy Didn't Tell You" (Barber, Cosby).
NOTE: The information is not intended to be a replacement or substitute for consultation with a qualified medical professional or for professional medical advice related to diabetes or another medical condition. Please contact your physician or medical professional with any questions and concerns about your medical condition.
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