Dental Implants and Smoking

Posted on: March 26, 2018

Dental ImplantsThose who smoke are more likely to experience dental implant failure than those who do not smoke.  This should not come as a shock to those who understand what smoking does to the human body. If you smoke or are thinking of smoking in the future, you should be aware of the fact that this habit can cause your dental implants to require replacement sooner than should be necessary.

Smoking’s Impact on Dental Implants

The dental implant failure rate is clearly higher in those who smoke compared to those who do not smoke.  In general, about one percent of all dental implants fail in those who do not smoke. Alternatively, studies show the dental implant failure rate for those who smoke is above 15 percent.  Dental implants are made of titanium and additional materials that are completely compatible with human bodies.  However, problems arise when the patient smokes.

Are You a Good Candidate for Dental Implants?

If you smoke, you might not be the optimal candidate for dental implants.  This is especially true for chain smokers. Meet with your dentist to determine if your smoking habit precludes you from eligibility for dental implants.  Though it might be possible to place dental implants in your mouth even if you smoke, the dentist might tell you the chances of the implants proving functional for years to come are considerably reduced due to your habit.  Be completely honest when discussing dental implants with your dentist. If you smoke, tell your dentist and be realistic about whether you are willing to deal with the possibility of dental implant failure.

Smoking’s Threat to Dental Implants

Though there are some dentists who will not hesitate to provide smokers with dental implants, many will refuse such a request.  What matters the most for smokers is whether the gums and bones are strong enough to hold the dental implant in place. Bone grafting is an option if your bone/gums are deteriorated or in otherwise poor condition.  However, some attempts at bone grafting have proved ineffective for those who smoke. The bottom line is smoking decreases the rate at which bone grows throughout the entirety of the body, including the mouth/face region.  Dentists and doctors are still attempting to figure out why, exactly, smoking makes the healing process difficult following the placement of dental implants.

Most medical professionals who have analyzed this phenomenon believe the inhalation of smoke damages oral tissues, causing a thickening of the upper layer of skin cells.  Smoking also damages the mouth’s salivary glands, drying them out to the point that there is minimal fluid remaining to wash away bacteria that cause periodontal disease. Nicotine and additional toxic components of cigarettes impact peripheral vessel within the mouth, reducing blood flow and ultimately affecting the body’s immune and healing capabilities.

How to Improve the Dental Implant Success Rate

If you are considering dental implants, you can increase the chances of success by quitting smoking today.  Smoke one last cigarette, throw out the rest and look forward to living life with dental implants that stand the test of time.  If you do not have the willpower to completely stop smoking, avoiding the cigarettes for a week prior to the placement of dental implants and two weeks following the procedure will certainly help.


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