According to an estimate published by the CDC, nearly 40 million U.S. adults smoke cigarettes. This activity is strongly associated with numerous health problems, including cancer, respiratory issues, oral health problems, and more. If you smoke, it is logical to wonder how your habit may affect your prospects for tooth replacement. Specifically, you might want to know how smoking could affect your candidacy for dental implants. Read on below to discover some useful information.
Smoking and Dental Implant Failure
Dental implants have an overall success rate of more than 95%. Only in rare cases do things like infection and trauma cause them to fail. Unfortunately, smoking drastically increases the risk of failure. In fact, a 2007 study from the University of Murcia in Spain noted that in smokers, 15.8% of their dental implants failed. Only 1.4% of the implants in nonsmokers faced the same fate. Other studies conducted throughout the years have similarly disheartening results.
Why is smoking so dangerous for dental implants? There are numerous reasons, including:
- Nicotine narrows blood vessels. This can restrict blood supply to your surgical sites and slow down your recovery following dental implant placement.
- Smoking increases the risk of gum disease. When gum disease attacks the tissue around your dental implants, the bone can deteriorate to the point where it can no longer support your prosthetic teeth.
- Smoking suppresses your immune system. When your immune system is not fully operational, your body cannot fight off oral infections as well as it should.
- Smoking contributes to dry mouth. Without adequate saliva to rinse away harmful bacteria, the risk of infection increases.
Is Smoking an Absolute Contraindication for Dental Implants?
If you smoke, you should make every effort to kick the habit. Your general dentist or primary care practitioner may be able to help you quit. However, it must be acknowledged that stopping smoking can be incredibly difficult. If you cannot quit right away, does that mean you are ineligible to receive dental implants?
Candidacy for dental implants is determined on a case-by-case basis. Your smoking habit is just one thing that your oral surgeon will consider when determining which tooth replacement method is right for you. Your overall health, the strength of your jawbone, your pre-existing medical conditions, and other factors will all come into play. After a thorough evaluation, some smokers are approved to move ahead with the dental implant procedure.
You will likely be instructed to abstain from cigarettes for the weeks before and at least a few months after your surgery. During that time, you may be able to use nicotine patches to minimize withdrawal symptoms.
Smoking can adversely affect dental implants! It might not prevent you from getting them, but kicking the habit is in the best interests of your smile.
Meet the Practice
Drs. Steve Koo and William Shepard are the board-certified oral surgeons in our practice. They provide dental implant services to the Katy/Cypress community. If you would like to learn about your tooth replacement options, they are ready to answer your questions. Contact our office at 832-353-1100.