Diabetes Self-Management Articles

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Choosing Dental Care

by Shirley Gutkowski, RDH, BSDH

Because of the interaction of diabetes and periodontal disease, people with diabetes may require dental visits as often as four times a year. When searching for an oral-health-care provider, ask about a dentist’s or hygienist’s experience in treating people with diabetes. Are steps taken to keep invasive procedures as short and stress-free as possible? Is the dentist willing to wait until a person’s diabetes is under control to begin nonemergency treatment?

In general, the morning is thought to be the best time for people with diabetes to have routine dental appointments, because their blood sugar level should be closest to normal after the morning meal and medicine. Inform your dentist and hygienist at each visit how well your diabetes is being controlled and if there have been any changes in your condition or medicines since your last visit. Check your blood glucose level before the appointment and, if your stress level is high or the procedure is prolonged, during it as well. If periodontal surgery is necessary, have your physician and dentist discuss the procedure together.

Getting it right
As you can see, there’s a lot to think about when choosing a dentist and dental hygienist. If you do your research now, though, these valuable members of your health-care team can save you a great deal of pain and problems in the future. Keep searching until you find an office you trust, and be sure to keep up with your home dental care while you’re looking.

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