Dental implants have improved the smiles of patients and offered a nearly normal lifestyle that is not attainable with previous restoration methods, such as traditional dentures and bridges. In fact, implants are so successful that they are now widely accepted and often the preferred method of dealing with missing teeth.
However, the procedure is less successful for one significant group: smokers. Studies show that the dental implant failure rate and complications are twice the rate in smokers as compared to non-smokers. To improve implant rates, our Bossier City team consults patients about their dental implants, advising them on the steps they can take to enhance their outcomes.
Why Does Smoking Increase Failure Rates?
We all know smoking is bad for you, but few realize the specific ways smoking interferes with your health. Understanding how smoking is detrimental will help you realize how smoking can affect the outcome of your dental implant surgery and what choices a smoker can make to improve the chances of a good outcome.
How Smoking Affects Implants
Why is smoking bad when it comes to dental implants?
- Smoking inhibits healing. Getting implants requires you to undergo oral surgery. Because smoking reduces the amount of oxygen in your body, it will take longer for you to heal. This includes the healing that must take place in the jaw bone for the implant to fuse securely to the bone. This puts a smoker at greater risk for implant failure.
- Peri-implantitis. This is when the area around the implant becomes inflamed. A deep mucosal pocket can develop that prevents the bone from healing. This, in turn, can prevent a secure bond from developing between the implant and the bone, increasing the risk of failure.
- Infection. Smoking increases the risk of infection around the implant after surgery. Smoking can also make it difficult for your body to fight infection once it sets in.
- Smoking interferes with medication. If you are given medications, such as antibiotics, smoking can interfere with their effectiveness. This may increase your risk of infection and implant failure.
How Smokers Can Reduce Risks of Dental Implant Complications
How can smokers reduce their risks? This will not come as a surprise: Stop smoking.
Ideally, this would be a permanent choice. Smoking not only affects the success rate for dental implants, but it also affects overall oral health. Cigarette smoking is associated with a variety of oral health conditions, including periodontal disease. Current and former smokers are at an increased risk of periodontal (gum) disease.
Next-Best Option to Improve Implant Success
If you cannot stop smoking, then at the minimum, you should give up smoking for at least a month before surgery as the effects of smoking typically reverse after quitting. Smokers should continue to not smoke during the post-surgical healing period, which is typically six weeks, if there are no complications.
Need More Information about Dental Implants?
Each patient is different and a cosmetic dentist can help advise you on your options for dental implants. If you would like to find out if implants are right for you, please contact us so we can sit down and talk about your needs.