Dental Implants and the Risk of Smoking
By Dr. Ribeiro on September 27, 2018
Dental implants provide a permanent solution for missing teeth, restoring dental function and the smile's appearance. This makes them a great option for those looking to improve their oral health.
Smoking is known to increase the risk of certain oral health issues, including tooth decay and gum disease. Unfortunately, this leaves many smokers facing tooth loss.
While dental implants are one of the most effective treatments for missing teeth, smokers face unique risks when considering dental implant surgery. Dr. Richard Ribeiro explains the risks of dental implants and smoking during consultations at his Clarksville, TN practice.
Today, we'll take a general look at some of the ways smoking can interfere with dental implants and recovery. For more information, please schedule your personal consultation with Dr. Ribeiro.
Recovery for dental implant treatment is relatively long, even in healthy, non-smokers. It may take as long as six months for the jawbone to fully heal and bond to the dental implant, a process called osseointegration. For smokers, this process can be even longer because smoking has been found to cause slow wound healing.
Smoking may interfere with wound healing as a result of decreased oxygen levels in blood cells, cellular exposure to chemicals such as nicotine and carbon monoxide, or an increase in blood viscosity.
Whatever the cause, slow-healing dental implant sites mean smokers should expect a prolonged recovery. They may also need to take extra precautions throughout recovery to improve the success of their treatment.
Development of Peri-implantitis
Smoking before dental implant surgery and during recovery greatly increases the risk of patients developing peri-implantitis. Peri-implantitis is a condition in which the area surrounding the dental implant becomes inflamed and a mucosal pocket forms.
When a mucosal pocket develops around a dental implant, it creates a barrier, preventing the tissues of the jawbone from bonding, or osseointegrating, with the implant. If osseointegration does not take place, the implant will not anchor within the jaw, causing treatment to fail.
Increased Risk of Infection
As with any surgery, the dental implant procedure carries some risk of infection. However, those who smoke are at far greater risk of infection than non-smokers.
Not only do smokers face a longer recovery, which leaves wounds more vulnerable to infection, the risk of infection in smokers is even greater because smoking increases the levels of bacteria within the mouth and makes it more difficult for the body to fight infection. When all three elements are combined, the risk for infection at the dental implant site is greatly increased.
Dental Implant Failure
One of the biggest risks smoking poses to dental implant treatment is implant failure. When one or more of the above complications occur, they can prevent proper healing and interfere with osseointegration, causing the body to reject the dental implant.
If dental implant failure occurs, the implant will not be able to support a prosthetic tooth.
Smokers Must Prepare for Dental Implants
Due to the risk of dental implant failure, and all of the risks associated with smoking, those who smoke must take steps before and after the dental implant procedure to mitigate their risks and improve their chances of successful treatment.
One of the most effective things a smoker can do is to stop smoking as far in advance of surgery as possible and stay committed to not smoking throughout the recovery process. Seeking out support groups or talking to your doctor can help.
Schedule a Consultation
If you would like more information about dental implants and smoking, please call our offices at (931) 645-6362 to schedule a consultation.
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“Dr. Ribeiro has been my dentist for many years, and he has always provided exceptional service. His staff is very professional and courteous. They always go out of their way to ensure I have a pleasant experience.” Tina Reed