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Smoking and Dental Implants: What You Need to Know

We understand that most smokers know that they are more likely to suffer dental issues, such as gum disease and tooth loss than nonsmokers. However, what many don’t realize is that smoking can have an impact on tooth replacement as well, especially if an implant-based reconstruction is the desired option.

If you’re interested in implant reconstruction, you should know that while most smokers have excellent results, tobacco use does significantly increase risk of implant failures and other complications. However, there are steps that can be taken to mitigate those risks, so be sure to discuss your smoking habit and its implications for your dental health with our Periodontist Arlington MA.

Smoking and Dental Implants: Potential Risks

Implant failure rates are low in both smokers and non-smokers. In a study published in the “Journal of Periodontology,” researchers found that smokers averaged a 4 percent failure rate as opposed to a 2 percent rate in non-smokers. Among the reasons that rates are higher in smokers is that the chief factor behind the success or failure of dental implants is how well the implant integrates into the bone of the jaw, a function that depends largely upon good blood circulation and an efficient healing process.

Smoking inhibits blood flow to some extent and can slow the healing process, raising risk of poor implant integration.

Smokers also have a somewhat higher risk of peri-implant mucositis, which is an inflammatory condition that affects the gum tissue, similar to gingivitis. If left untreated, it can progress into peri-implantitis, a more serious inflammatory condition that can cause loss of soft tissue and bone around the implant site, which may eventually lead to implant failure.

Smoking and Dental Implants: Risk Reducing Measures

Of course, the best way to reduce those risks is to quit smoking altogether. However, quitting successfully often takes multiple attempts and a great deal of time. In a patient with an acute need for teeth replacement, managing the risks is often a more feasible solution than postponing treatment for such an extensive period.

However, it is best if smokers refrain from smoking for at least a week before an implant procedure and during healing, especially throughout the first week, when soft tissue is on the mend. Exposing open tissues to smoke can cause irritation, inflammation or infection, any of which may significantly impair the natural healing process.

So, if you need teeth replacement and haven’t, as of yet, managed to kick the smoking habit, you can still have a successful restoration experience with an implant-based procedure. While smoking and dental implants is not an ideal mix, a skilled and experienced oral surgeon can help you reduce the excess risk caused by your smoking habit, paving your way to a beautiful new smile. Contact us today!



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