The dangers of smoking have been prevalent for a very long time. Lung disease, periodontitis, and tooth loss are all but a few common side effects of this habit. For many adults who are looking to replace a lost tooth, dental implants have become a viable option. Even for those who have been life-long smokers, implants offer a cosmetic restoration to their smile. Nevertheless, if you smoke or are thinking of smoking in the future, you should be aware of the fact that this habit can cause your dental implants to require replacement sooner than necessary.
The dental implant failure rate is noticeably higher in those who smoke compared to those who do not. In general, about one percent of all dental implants fail in those who do not smoke. Alternatively, studies show the dental implant failure ratio for those who smoke is above 15 percent. Dental implants are made of titanium and supplementary materials that are entirely well-suited with our bodies. Titanium is known to attract bone cells which will grow and adhere to the post over time. This strengthens the implant within the mouth. However, complications arise when the patient smokes.
Nicotine adversely impacts the health of teeth through blood vessel constriction, dry mouth and pocket formation within the gums. As blood flow is reduced, the body loses its ability to fight disease and infection. Smoking decreases the rate at which bone grows throughout the entirety of the body, including the mouth and face region. Smoking also damages the mouth’s salivary glands, drying them out to the point that there is minimal fluid remaining to wash away bacteria that cause periodontal disease. Not surprisingly, most dentists believe that smoking adversely curtails the likelihood that the implants will heal properly, let alone last. The surgically impacted area simply cannot get the necessary healing nutrients it needs to recover.
Dentists offer differing opinions as to whether to fit smokers with dental implants. Nonetheless, doctors all agree that the best way for dental implants to last is for the patient to exercise good oral health. Not only will regular brushing and flossing help, but so will quitting the smoking habit altogether. Giving up smoking before your scheduled implant surgery will provide a healthy foundation for your new teeth to thrive for years to come.
If you would like more information on dental implants, please contact our Alexandria dental office or schedule an appointment for a consultation. We look forward to helping you smile with confidence again.
Karl A. Smith, DDS, MS
Phone: (703) 894-4867
2500 N. Van Dorn St., Suite 128 Alexandria , VA 22302