May 7th, 2015
When your teeth fail you, the last thing you want is your dental implant failing you as well because of smoking. Dental implants work as a lifelike substitute for missing teeth. They are the only restorative dental solution that stops jawbone loss and gives you the full set of teeth you need to retain good oral health.
Fortunately, many smokers have successful dental implant treatments. However, smoking has been found to significantly increase the chance of dental implant failure. Let’s take a closer look at how smoking affects dental implants so that you can have a successful experience with this tooth replacement procedure.
Implants May Not Properly Bond With Jawbone
Right off the bat, smoking regularly before you receive implants may make it harder for the implant to fully fuse with your jawbone. Cigarette, pipe and cigar smoking has been found to cause jawbone loss, severe periodontal (gum and bone) disease and delayed wound healing, according to the College of Dental Hygienists of Ontario. The tobacco you consume while smoking limits blood flow to your gums, reducing the oxygen and nutrients they need to stay healthy, recover and fight off bacterial infection.
If your jawbone, gum tissue, and muscle surrounding the implant aren’t healthy and cannot properly heal after you’ve received the implant, your implant may not be able to fuse with your jaw bone. The soft tissues of your gums typically take a few weeks to heal around the implant, and the jaw takes months to osseointegrate with the implant.
Studies have found that patients who smoked during the implant placement surgery had a higher rate of early implant failure than nonsmokers. This makes sense, as smoking negatively affects the health of your jaw and gums. It’s best to avoid smoking during the early stages of your implant surgery to allow the implant to fully osseointegrate correctly. Otherwise, your implant may need to be taken out soon after your surgery.
Increases Chances of Infection
Like all surgeries, there is a risk of infection with dental implants. But the risk is very low for patients with great oral health and a strong immune system. Smokers, on the other hand, are more likely to develop an infection after they receive implants because it’s harder for their gums and jaw to fully recover. If patients smoke soon after their surgery, their wounds are also exposed to chemicals, making infection more likely. While antibiotics can be used to treat infection, smoking can reduce the effectiveness of these drugs.
Greater Risk of Developing Peri-Implantitis
Smoking doesn’t just affect the success of your dental implants in the early stages of healing. Peri-implantitis can occur years after your dental implant surgery and often causes implant failure. Peri-implantitis is an infectious disease that results in inflammation around gums and bone surrounding a dental implant. If left untreated, it can lead to progressive bone loss around the implant and eventual implant failure. Fortunately, peri-implantitis is rare. But smoking has been found to increase your risk of developing the disease. Smokers are also especially susceptible to bone loss.
How to Increase Your Chances of Dental Implant Success As a Smoker
Don’t worry, smokers. It’s not all bad news. While smoking does increase the chance that your dental implant won’t last long, many patients who smoke have successful treatments with implants that last their entire lives. It’s also important to note that ex-smokers who have not smoked in years increase their success rate. The best thing you can do for yourself and your dental implant is to stop smoking. Countless studies have noted that patients should stop smoking to decrease their risk of implant failure. You can find a variety of resources designed to help you quit smoking here.
Interested in getting dental implants in Chicago? Receiving dental implants from Chicago’s top cosmetic dentistry, Water Tower Dental Care, is a smart investment in your smile’s longevity. If you’re a smoker or ex-smoker, we can gauge the health of your mouth before you receive implants and talk to you about possible treatment plans. Request an appointment with us today!