Can Smoking Cause Dental Implant Failure? By Joseph Perry, DDS on March 30, 2016

A graphic of a dental implant with crown restorationDental implants can restore dental function and appearance for those who suffer from one or more missing teeth. Mini dental implants offer the same benefits as traditional dental implants with the advantage of a reduced recovery time and instant results. One of the most significant factors in the success of any dental implant treatment is whether or not a person smokes. If you smoke and are considering dental implant treatment, it's important you understand the risks associated with smoking and dental implants. To learn about your specific risks, schedule a consultation with San Antonio, TX dentist Joseph Perry.

Smoking Increases the Risk of Complications

As with any surgery, dental implant treatment carries some risks. However, the chance of experiencing complications after dental implant surgery is greatly increased in smokers. Smoking negatively impacts the body in a number of ways, one of which is impairing the body's ability to heal. This is because smoking reduces the amount of oxygen hemoglobin in the blood.

Oxygen is essential for cellular health and the healing process. The success of dental implant surgery depends on the healing of the jawbone tissue around the dental implant, a process called osseointegration. Smoking poses many additional risks to the success of dental implant treatment, including:

  • Increased risk of infection: Smoking increases the risk of infection by introducing bacteria into the mouth, as well as impacting the body's ability to heal and fight infection.
  • Slower recovery: Smoking makes it more difficult for the body to heal itself, dramatically increasing recovery time, leaving smokers more vulnerable to infection, implant failure, and other complications after dental implant surgery.
  • Peri-implantitis: Those who continue to smoke after dental implant surgery are at greater risk of developing peri-implantitis. Peri-implantitis is a condition in which the tissues around the dental implant become inflamed, resulting in the formation of a mucosal pocket. This pocket prevents the jawbone from healing properly around the implant, leading to implant failure.
  • May interfere with medications: Smoking can interfere with some medications, including antibiotics, and increase the risk of complications.
  • Dental implant failure: Smokers are far more likely to experience dental implant failure over non-smokers as a result of one or more of the above complications.

Preparing for Dental Implant Surgery

Those who smoke can help reduce their risk of complications after dental implant surgery by preparing well before their surgery. It's imperative that smokers stop smoking a minimum of four weeks prior to surgery. However, the further in advance smokers stop smoking, the better. When a patient stops smoking, the chemicals leave the body and good oxygen levels are restored to the blood.

Additionally, smokers will need to avoid smoking throughout the recovery process, which may take more than six weeks, to help further reduce the risk of complications. These tips can help you stop smoking prior to dental implant surgery and during recovery:

  • Nicotine replacement therapy: Nicotine therapy treatments can help fight nicotine cravings when trying to quit smoking and can be prescribed by your general physician.
  • Chew on sugar-free gum: Reaching for a piece of sugar-free gum instead of a cigarette can help you avoid smoking.
  • Fight tobacco cravings with physical activity: Physical activity can help combat the urge to smoke. Try 30 minutes of walking, jogging, or other activity to help get your mind off of smoking and improve your mood.
  • Join a support group: Turning to support groups or friends and family can help keep you motivated and offer encouragement when trying to quit smoking.

Schedule a Consultation

For more information about smoking and dental implants, including personalized tips to help you quit smoking, we invite you to schedule a consultation with Dr. Perry.

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River City Dental Solutions

The team at River City Dental Solutions serves the needs of the greater San Antonio, TX, area with state-of-the-art technology and the latest innovative techniques. We can provide you and your family with beautiful smiles through a variety of procedures including:

To schedule an appointment at our dental office, contact us online or call (210) 349-3745.

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