Smoking Complicates Dental Implant Procedures

Posted on Jul 10, 2014 by William J. Claiborne, DDS MS

Smoking complicates the body’s natural ability to heal. It has a drying effect on gum tissues and minimizes blood oxygen, resulting in a delayed healing process. Smoking also contributes to a greater potential for bacterial build-up.

To place an implant, both gum tissue and bone are involved in the process. The Periodontist goes through gum tissues to reach the bone, placing each implant at a precise depth and angle. Once the implant is placed in the bone, it can take two to six months to become fully anchored.

Proper healing requires normal blood circulation to ensure gum recovery and sufficient oxygen levels for the regeneration of bone surrounding the implant. Failures most often occur during this osseo (bone) integration phase when the bone is growing around the implant.

In addition to smoking’s effects on the rate of tissue and bone recovery, 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 a 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 and works its way into the implant area, the risk for losing the implant is significant.

Because of the greater risk factors, some dental specialists refuse to place dental implants in smokers, especially heavy ‘chain’ smokers. So many negative effects from smoking make it highly advisable to stop smoking prior to implant placement. You can greatly enhance your success rate for dental implants by quitting smoking at least one week prior to your placement procedure and throughout until you are fully recovered.

Keep in mind that dental implants enable you to eat a healthy selection of foods while restoring eating comfort and smiling confidence. The many benefits you’ll reap with dental implants are well worth kicking the habit of smoking. Call (828) 274-9440 to arrange a Consultation so we can discuss your potential for a successful outcome.

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