How Does Smoking Affect Dental Implants?

Smoking Affects Dental Implants
18 April 2016

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Numerous studies have pointed to the long-term success of dental implants. However, there have been a few cases of failure reported, especially for smoking patients, making smoking one of the biggest risk factors for implant loss.

The complications from smoking

The ideal candidate for dental implants is in good oral and general health, is free of periodontal disease, and has adequate natural healing abilities. Smoking tends to hamper blood circulation which, in turn, interferes with your body’s ability to heal and puts the implant treatment at risk of failure. Smoking also increases the risk of gum disease, which can contribute to implant failure.

Generally, smoking is known to cause:

  • Slow recovery
    Tobacco contains nicotine that reduces blood flow in the mouth, which results in lower oxygen levels in the blood and reduced ability of the body to heal.
  • Periodontal disease
    Smokers are highly susceptible to gum disease, and their infections are usually more severe. If a patient has gum disease, the infection can spread to the implant, causing it to fail.
  • Peri-implantitis
    This is one of the most common complications among smokers seeking implant treatment. It is characterized by the implant site becoming inflamed and/or infected, which prevents the bone from bonding with the implant, resulting in implant failure.
  • Infection
    Smoking not only increases the risk of infection, but also makes it harder to fight it.
  • Interference with medications
    Following implant treatment, your surgeon should prescribe medications that aid in the healing process. Unfortunately for smokers, these medications have limited effect. So, smoking not only hinders healing, but also limits the ability of medications (like antibiotics) to boost healing.

Increase your chances of implant treatment success

Dental implants are arguably the best replacement option for your missing tooth; however, smoking could disqualify you from the treatment. At the same time, it is a controllable factor.

Considering that smoking increases the risk of dental implant failure by 2 to 10 times, it is important that you stop smoking. This will most probably improve your periodontal health and increase your chances of a successful implant.

If you find it hard to completely stop smoking, consider kicking the habit for a given period before and after the surgical procedure to avoid interfering with the healing process. Ideally, you need to stop smoking for one-to-four weeks before the procedure, and for six weeks during the recovery period, which should put you on track to completely breaking the destructive habit.

For more information about the effects smoking has on your dental implants, contact our team today.

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