Diabetes at the dentist

It’s a little like David after Dentist only not as much fun.

I discovered Wednesday night that at some point recently I chipped off part of my tooth. There’s nothing like an emergency situation to speed up the process of finding a new doctor.

pre-dentist BG checkThankfully the dentist that my boss recommended had an opening after work yesterday. My CGM has been somewhat unreliable (I have been using expired sensors so this is understandable) but it had me in the low 100s with a steady arrow as I packed up for the day. It was a number I would have been happy with if I was headed home, but not a number I was happy with if I was about to spend a few hours in the dentist’s chair. I tested with my meter as I started the car, and because the result was a little bit higher, I decided not to treat.

I had filled out the new patient paperwork online before my appointment, but they didn’t pull my chart up in the exam room. The dental assistant found out I have diabetes when I removed my pump for the x-ray. The dentist came in a few minutes later to explain the procedures that needed to be done.

When he asked if I was in good health I responded that I was, but when he asked if I had any systemic illnesses I had to look over at the assistant to double check the answer. I guess that is the category that type 1 diabetes belongs in at the dentist.

He asked if I took insulin. When I said that I did, he asked if I took it every day. We debated a little about the fact that type 1 diabetes means that the person has to take insulin every day.

BG at the dentistI thought my BG was perfect for the time in the chair, but as they were getting all the materials together my CGM started to buzz in my purse. It buzzed that I was under 70. That definitely would have put a halt to the dental work, so I wanted to confirm on my meter. The dentist had never seen a CGM or a Verio meter so he was very intrigued by all my technology. I was intrigued by the fact that the dentist and I were the same age, but that is a story for another day.

diabetes at the dentistNothing says diabetes at the dentist like eating sugary snacks in the exam room (Red Vines and Girl Scout cookies).

Once I was all numbed up with my mouth full of devices and drooling, the dentist assured me that they keep cake icing for their patients just in case. He mentioned something about being able to squirt it right it even if I was passed out or couldn’t swallow.

I also set a temporary basal because 1) stress/anxiety tends to make me drop, 2) I wouldn’t be able to treat again if the candy didn’t do its job, and 3) I had no idea how long I would be in the chair.

CGM at the dentist

I made it through the next few hours with no more buzzes or beeps which would have been a much more rewarding success if I didn’t need a device to keep me from drooling on myself at the same time.

me at the dentist

Anybody else have any awkward diabetes at the dentist situations?


  • Well done!

    This is a situation I’d never considered. A mouth being unavailable for glucose inputs for so long, I mean. Wow.

    And this: please tell me that is a Glamour Shot of your young dentist over your shoulder in the final picture!

    I hope you enjoy your new tooth.

  • Yes, I’ve chomped down on glucose tabs and/or granola bars in the dentist’s waiting room before being seen, and always reflected on how awkward that must seem. I never mentioned it to anyone though, nor did it ever come up.

  • Not really awkward (except maybe to the assistant), but my last endodontist asked to see my fingers…because he has a daughter with T1.

  • Wow. Lovely and brave selfie!

    I’ve become a terrible wimp over the years and have developed a fear of having dental work done (I absorb “-Caine” meds too quickly, so they have to inject way more and I can still feel it.)
    I’ve done juice in the chair. I’ve also done juice before the chair, just in case.

  • I guess it’s karma that I just checked your website for new posts because I just broke a tooth 30 minutes ago. Fortunately it doesn’t hurt because I’m out of town and won’t be home until Wednesday.

    My dentist has Type 2 and he’s always highly impressed that my A1c is lower than his. Fortunately I’ve never had BG emergencies while in the dental chair. Glad you made it through OK.

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