Smokers Add Challenges To Dental Implant Success

Posted on Aug 09, 2016 by William J. Claiborne, DDS MS

Not only does smoking complicate the body’s natural ability to heal, it is a particular challenge to oral tissues. The chemicals in cigarette smoke have a drying effect on the gum and decreases blood oxygen levels. This results in slower healing and can lead to a greater risk of bacterial build-up.Quit-Smoking

In implant placement, both gum tissue and bone are involved in the process. Through gum tissues, I position each implant in the upper or lower jaw bone at a precise depth and angle.

Once the implant is placed, it requires a healing period as the bone grows around it, securing it in place. This process is known as ‘osseo-integration.’ Proper healing requires normal blood circulation and sufficient oxygen levels. Implant failures occur most often during this phase when the bone is growing around the implant.

In addition to smoking’s effects on the rate of tissue and bone recovery, smoking patients can develop a condition known as peri–implantitis. Peri-implantitis leads to inflammation around the implant site and pockets of pus that form in gum tissues. Although the potential to develop peri–implantitis exists for any dental implant patient, smokers have a substantially higher risk.

When smokers develop infections after implant surgery, medications used to combat the infection have a reduced effect. This is because the potency of antibiotics does not work as well on smokers. When infection is not eliminated before it can work its way into the implant area, the risk for losing the implant is significant.

Keep in mind that an implant that must be removed due to the healing complications of smoking is not refundable. This means that the investment you made has gone up in smoke – cigarette smoke.

So many negative effects from smoking make it highly advisable to stop smoking prior to implant placement. If you don’t stop, you can increase your potential for success somewhat by reducing your smoking by half at least one week prior to your placement procedure and throughout the healing period.

Having dental implants allows you to eat the foods you love again and restores eating comfort and smiling confidence. The many benefits you’ll reap with dental implants are well worth kicking the habit. Call 828-274-9440 to schedule a consultation to discuss your potential for a successful outcome.

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