How Smoking Complicates Dental Implant Success

added on: June 3, 2013

We all know that smoking isn’t good for your health. This also includes your oral health. Smoking complicates the body’s natural ability to heal. In the mouth, it has a drying effect on gum tissues and minimizes blood oxygen, resulting in a delayed healing process. Smoking also contributes to greater potential for bacterial build-up.

For dental implant patients, smoking adds a long list of challenges. To place an implant, both gum tissue and bone are involved in the process. I go through gum tissues to reach the bone, placing each implant at a precise depth and angle. Once the implant is placed, it can take several months to become fully anchored by the bone.

For proper healing during this time, you need normal blood circulation to ensure gum recovery and sufficient oxygen levels for the regeneration of bone. Failures most often occur during this ‘osseo-integration’ phase when the bone is growing around the implant.

For smokers who develop infections, medications have a limited effect since the potency of antibiotics does not work as well on smokers. When infection is not eliminated and works its way into the implant area, your risk for losing the implant is higher.

With all the negative effects of smoking, it’s highly advisable to stop prior to implant placement. Just like a hip or knee replacement, implants cannot be guaranteed because of the circumstances that can occur while the healing process is primarily in the hands of the patient. Implant success rates can be enhanced by quitting at least a week prior to the placement procedure and staying smoke-free until you are fully recovered.

Dental implants enable you to eat a healthy selection of foods while restoring chewing comfort and smiling confidence. Let your dental implant treatment motivate you to quit altogether. The many benefits you’ll reap with dental implants are well worth kicking the habit.