Smoking and Its Effects on Dental Implants
Dental implants are effective in many ways, including helping people to get their confidence back, providing a fixed replacement of missing teeth, and also preventing you from having to wear removable dentures. However, if you are considering dental implants, you must have healthy gums and bone to support the implant.
The most asked question we get at the clinic is if cigarette smoking harms dental implants. The answer is yes. Smoking can inhibit blood flow to the surrounding bone and gum of the implant, causing the healing process to slow down, thus increasing the risk of rejection.
Researchers at the University of Murcia in Spain studied 66 patients who received 165 dental implants over 5 years, which showed that the implant failure rate was almost a massive 16% for smokers, and just over 1% in non smokers!
Cigarettes contain many toxic chemicals that hold detrimental health risks, but the biggest worry is nicotine (a cigarettes main ingredient). Nicotine constricts blood vessels, making it harder to heal tissue, and restricts oxygen and nutrients to reach areas that most need it.
There is a risk of implants being rejected in the mouths of smokers after the gums have healed. It is proven that smoking increases the annual rate of bone loss by 0.16mm a year, and although that doesn’t sound like much, it does add up over time. A history of smoking can also lead to difficulty of the jaw bone joining the implant, which, if you add up all the factors, can lead to rapid implant loss.
Quitting smoking is important not just for your oral health, but for your overall well-being. If you are a smoker and are choosing dental implants to replace missing teeth, it is extremely important to ensure you follow aftercare and recommendations closely, including attending your follow-up appointments, and learning proper brushing and flossing techniques. If you want more information on this, see our blog on how to care for your dental implants here.
Due to dental implants requiring surgery, patients must be in good health and must boast great oral hygiene to be able to qualify for dental implants.