Dental Implants and the Risks of Smoking
Dental implants permanently restore dental function to people missing one or more teeth, helping to improve oral health and boost confidence. Although dental implants are intended to be permanent, smoking can affect the success of dental implant treatment and increase the risk of dental implant failure.
The Dental Associates of New England would like to take a moment to consider the risks associated with dental implants and smoking. If you live in or around Boston, MA, and have further questions about dental implants and smoking, we invite you to schedule a consultation.
Smoking and the Risk to Dental Implants
Dental implants are supposed to permanently replace missing teeth, but it’s important that our Boston patients understand that they might not last forever for those who don’t give up smoking. Smoking can increase the risks of several conditions that can lead to dental implant failure.
Below we have listed just a few of the most notable risks associated with dental implants and smoking.
Increased Risk of Infection
Dental implants are surgically placed through an incision in the gums and screwed into the jawbone. Because of these incisions, there is some risk of infection after dental implant surgery. Those who continue to smoke during recovery are at even greater risk of infection.
Smoking increases bacteria within the mouth. This bacteria can easily make its way to the implant site and cause an infection.
Smoking Slows Recovery
Smoking can prolong recovery after dental implant surgery. Keep in mind that a normal full recovery in which the jawbone has healed and bonded to the dental implant can take six months. This process is known as osseointegration. For smokers, recovery can take even longer.
Smoking may slow healing because it interferes with oxygen levels in the blood. In addition, smoking also exposes the cells to harmful chemicals, such as carbon monoxide and nicotine.
Increased Risk of Peri-implantitis
Smokers are at increased risk of developing peri-implantitis. Peri-implantitis occurs when bacteria collects around the base of a dental implant, causing the surrounding gum and bone tissue to become infected and inflamed.
If left untreated, the affected bone may deteriorate. This can prevent the bone from bonding to the implant, or dissolve the bond if osseointegration has already occurred.
Increased Risk of Dental Implant Failure
Smokers are at increased risk of dental implant failure. Dental implant failure occurs when bone loss is present around the implant. Often this is a result of infection, like gum disease or peri-implantitis.
Dental implant failure can happen anytime during the life of an implant and not just during the initial surgical recovery. Smokers who are not willing to stop smoking after dental implant treatment should be diligent with their oral hygiene to reduce their risk of implant failure as well as other oral health problems.
Dental Implants Are a Good Reason to Quit Smoking
If you are a smoker, it’s important that you can commit to stop smoking before dental implant surgery and throughout recovery. Those who are not willing to stop smoking may not be good candidates for dental implant treatment.
Find Out If Dental Implants Are Right for You
If you live in or around Boston and would like to find out if dental implants are right for you, please call (781) 890-4900 or schedule a consultation online.