3 Factors to Consider if You Smoke and Want a Dental Implant

Emily Harrison Dental Implants

Tooth implants are a wonderful solution for patients if other forms of restorative dental care have not been a success. Dental implants eliminate the complications that come with using other dental appliances, and they’re especially useful because unlike other restorative options they are inserted directly into the gum and are independent, meaning they do not rely on neighboring teeth for support.

How do implants work?

There are three crucial components of a dental implant: The posts (made of titanium), the metal balls at the top of the posts, and the O-ring. When inserting an implant, the post is rooted into the jawbone via a surgical procedure. The false tooth is screwed onto the metal ball, and the O-ring provides cushioning between the tooth and the gum line.

After insertion, there is little to no additional maintenance required for implants, mostly because they are designed to act and perform in the same way as regular teeth would.

However, if you regularly smoke, choosing whether to get a dental implant is more complicated. Here are some considerations to take into account when deciding what dental procedures are right for your lifestyle.

Factors to consider for smokers

1. Risk of decay

People who smoke, in general, are at a higher risk for poor oral health than those who do not. Problems can include staining of teeth, tooth loss, and periodontal disease. This is a significant factor when looking at a choice to continue smoking or to quit. Continuing to smoke can lead to other, more serious complications later in life.

2. Risk of procedural complications

Tobacco negatively affects the outcome of almost all oral surgical procedures performed. The fibrinolytic activity caused by smoking can lead to complications, such as dry sockets, after oral surgery. Bone formation and growth can also be affected by the use of nicotine. These complications that can arise during oral surgery are important to consider when choosing whether dental implants are right for you./p>

3. Implant-specific issues

Multiple clinical trials of dental implants have shown that smoking is a primary risk factor in implant surgeries. Smoking can cause marginal bone loss after implants. People who smoke are also more susceptible to bacterial infection at the site of the implant.

Smoking can also increase the incidence of peri-implantitis in implant patients. Peri-implantitis occurs when deep mucosal pockets with inflammation of the peri-implant mucosa form around dental implants.

Tobacco in the mouth after implant surgery can harm the soft tissue surrounding the implant, which can result in complications and potential implant failure. This is different than the effect of tobacco on simple tooth extractions because, in the case of extractions, the wound is already closed before you start smoking after the procedure.

People who smoke have been known to experience dental implant failure at a higher rate than people who do not smoke but still receive implants.

Recommendations for Smokers

If you currently smoke and find yourself in need of a dental implant, there are several protocols your dentist may ask you to follow to ensure the most successful surgery possible. For example, the cessation of smoking for a period of time before the implant procedure to increase the probability of implant acceptance.

Scientists suggest that people who want implants should refrain from smoking for at least one week before their surgery to let the body’s levels of blood viscosity and platelet adhesion return to a level closer to that of someone who does not smoke. They also suggest waiting about two months after implant placement before beginning to smoke again, to let the implant heal and set properly without the threat of infection or irritation from the tobacco.

Being someone who smokes regularly should not stop you from getting implants if you need them. However, it is vital to make sure you do stop smoking for at least the recommended period before your implant surgery to avoid complications and make the procedure go as smoothly as possible.

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