Dental implants are considered the gold standard of tooth replacement options. They can have a success rate of up to 98%! However, there are certain patients that are inhibited from this high success rate. There are a few risk factors associated with dental implant failure and smoking is one of them. If you are a smoker and need the most advanced tooth replacement option, you may need to reconsider your habit before undergoing a dental implant procedure.
Besides its harmful overall effect on your gums and teeth, smoking can cause implant failure, infection and a slower recovery after dental implants. The success of dental implants is dependent on the ability for the implant to properly fuse or bond to the jawbone. Smoking weakens and inflames the gum tissues and inhibits healthy regeneration and healing around the implant. This is called peri-implantitis, which is a leading cause of dental implant failure.
The risk of infection is associated with most any surgical procedure. However, if you are a smoker receiving oral surgery, your infection risk becomes significantly greater. In addition, the effectiveness of prescribed antibiotics can decrease for smokers. Infection obviously leads to a more difficult recovery after dental implants.
Even if you do not experience implant failure or infection, smokers can expect a longer recovery period after dental implants. Smoking limits blood flow, respiration and metabolic activity, which are all critical factors in healing from wounds and regenerating new tissues around a dental implant.
Smokers are considered to have a 300 percent greater chance for detectable gum disease! Gum disease is the leading cause of tooth loss. Therefore, although dental implants are not ideal for smokers, smokers are often the ones that need dental implants the most. If you are a smoker with tooth loss, there is still time to change your ways and experience a permanent, natural-looking and confident smile. Always talk to your dentist about your candidacy for dental implants first, but abstaining from smoking tobacco prior to and following your surgery can lessen your risk for complications. Wayne G. Suway, DDS, MAGD is known for helping patients who have risk factors for dental implants and he can educate you on the best ways to start preparing for this life-altering procedure right away.