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How Smoking Can Lead to Dental Implant Failure

By Bruce Wilderman on October 13, 2017

A lit cigaretteWhen a person is missing a tooth or multiple teeth, dental implants can be used to support a dental crown, a bridge, or a set of dentures. We've helped many people in the greater Philadelphia area smile with renewed confidence thanks to implant dentistry.

Of course, successful dental implant treatment is contingent on patient healing. Smoking is one of the biggest impediments to proper healing and your dental health. With that in mind, let's explore why smoking increases the risk of dental implant failure and what patients can do to minimize risks.

The Many Dangers of Smoking

Smoking is a dangerous habit, and one linked to many general health problems. This includes cancer, lung disease, heart disease, respiratory problems, high blood pressure, and cataracts. Smoking has also been linked to various dental health issues, including tooth discoloration, enamel erosion, periodontal disease, and gum recession.

It should come as no surprise that smoking can also put dental implant treatment at risk. There are many reasons why smoking (and the use of tobacco products in general) could cause dental implants to fail.

The Risks of Smoking Before Dental Implant Surgery

Prior to undergoing oral surgery, it's important for patients to prep for the procedure. If patients smoke before getting their dental implants placed, they face a number of risks following the procedure.

  • Risk of Post-Surgical Infection – Smokers tend to be more prone to infection than non-smokers. Immediately after surgery in those crucial early days of recovery, an infection could spell disaster. Additional corrective procedures and other measures will need to be taken to help ensure success.

  • Poor Healing Times Linked to Smoking – In addition to infection risks, smokers often require more time to heal than non-smokers. This is part of what increases the risk of infection, but prolonged healing times also make other complications more likely.

Given these major risks to success, it's important for patients to avoid smoking in the lead up to any sort of oral surgery procedure, especially when it comes to placing dental implants.

Can I Smoke After Getting Dental Implants?

Technically you can, but it would be a very bad idea. Even after the first few weeks of healing are over, smoking can lead to a number of serious risks.

The Risks of Smoking After Dental Implant Surgery

After having your dental implants placed and healing from the oral surgery itself, smoking can lead to a number of problems. These include:

  • Issues with Osseointegration – Osseointegration refers to the process by which the dental implants fuse with the jawbone. This allows dental implants to function just like natural tooth roots. Smoking after oral surgery can prevent this from occurring because of the impact on healing times and other dental wellness issues.

  • Risk of Periodontal Disease – Periodontal disease refers to the inflammation of the gums. If you develop gum disease while your dental implants are in the process of healing, this can put the entire procedure in jeopardy. It can take several more months and additional dental work to address the problems with osseointegration and implant position that may arise.

In the end, the best thing you can do for your dental health and general health is to quit smoking for good. There are plenty of resources out there to help you kick the habit that we'd be happy to suggest.

Contact the Team at Artistic Expressions Dentistry

If you would like more information about implant dentistry and how it can help you have a beautiful smile, be sure to contact the team at Artistic Expressions Dentistry today. We will work with you to improve your dental health and overall wellness.

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