Dental Implant Failure and Smoking

By Dr. Damon on September 06, 2018

Smoking cigarette against plain black backgroundFor those missing teeth, dental implants offer the most reliable, long-lasting solution. In fact, with appropriate care, implants can last a lifetime. Smoking, however, can significantly hinder the results of treatment and even lead to implant failure in many cases.

Here, our team of doctors at Amarillo Denture Clinic and Implant Center in Amarillo, TX explores the link between dental implant failure and smoking.

Dental Implant Failure Statistics

Dental implants are incredibly reliable when placed in healthy patients. In fact, the implant failure rate among non-smokers is only 1.4 percent on average. In contrast, smokers have a 15.8 percent risk.

When smokers pursue implant treatment at our practice, we recommend that they stop the use of tobacco products for at least one month prior to implant placement. In addition, patients should not smoke during the entire healing period, which lasts about three to six months on average.

This will help reduce the risk of implant failure and other complications. It is important to note, however, that the best course of action is to kick the habit entirely.

Smoking and Oral Health

Smoking contributes to xerostomia, or chronic dry mouth. A lack of saliva can substantially increase the risk for tooth decay and gum disease. In addition, smoking drastically weakens your body’s immune system. Therefore, periodontal disease and other oral infections are much more difficult to fight.

In fact, if you are a smoker:

  • You double the risk for gum disease.
  • Your risk for gum disease is higher the more cigarettes you smoke.
  • The longer you smoke, the higher your risk for gum disease.
  • Periodontal treatments may not work as well for you compared to non-smokers.

Once gum disease develops, it can progress quickly without treatment. As the infection worsens, the jawbone erodes. As a result, teeth and implants can become mobile and may even fall out.

Smoking and Dental Implants

In order for a dental implant to be successful long-term, it must be completely embedded in strong, dense bone tissue. Because smoking leads to the deterioration of bone, it can ultimately lead to implant failure.

How does this happen? Smoking causes inflammatory pockets to develop around the implant posts, a condition known as peri-implantitis. If these areas are left untreated, then the bacterial infection will eventually erode the supporting bone.

Smoking also shrinks blood vessels and capillaries, which are essential to the body’s natural healing process. Therefore, using tobacco products during the recovery phase can prevent the implants from properly healing, or fusing to the jawbone, a process known as osseointegration.

Marijuana and Dental Implants

With the increasing legalization of medical and recreational cannabis, many patients wonder about the effects of marijuana on dental implants. It is important to keep your surgical site clean for proper healing. Any kind of smoke, whether it is from tobacco, marijuana, or vapor from an electronic cigarette, can impede the healing process.

In addition, the use of cannabis can cause dry mouth. As aforementioned, this condition can increase the risk for tooth decay and gum disease.

Contact Us for More Information

If you are a smoker, it is a good idea to kick the habit before getting dental implants. Talk to your doctor about ways to quit effectively. To schedule a consultation at our practice, contact us online or give us a call at (806) 803-9219.

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