Dental Implant Failure and Smoking By Joe McIntyre, DDS on November 10, 2015

Illustration of dental implant post next to natural tooth rootImplant dentistry is now the gold standard in treatment for patients that are missing teeth. If you are considering dental implants, whether for single-tooth replacement or to anchor a bridge, partial, or denture, you should know that smoking greatly increases the chance of implant failure. In healthy conditions, dental implants have an impressive 98 percent success rate. Smoking, however, reduces the potential for success. To learn more about dental implant failure and smoking, contact our Bridgewater, VA practice, and read the following blog post.

How Smoking Negatively Affects Implants

The high success rate for dental implants is based on our knowledge of factors that contribute to optimizing the potential for success. The surgeon must have an excellent knowledge of the patient’s oral and whole health, as well as proper training in dental implant placement. The implant post, abutment, and crown or prosthetic must be of good quality. But without doubt, the patient’s behavior has a significant influence on implant success. A patient who does not smoke, has healthy gum and jawbone tissue, and takes care of his or her implants with good daily and professional dental care is more likely to experience successful integration of the dental implants.

Smoking negatively affects dental implant success because it:

  • Increases the risk for peri-implantitis
  • Increases the risk for gum disease
  • Contributes to marginal bone loss around the implants
  • Interferes with bone graft integration
  • Reduces the effectiveness of antibiotics, thus increasing the risk for infection
  • Slows recovery due to the body’s restricted ability to generate new tissue
  • Promotes the growth of oral bacteria that cause disease

About Peri-Implantitis

Similar to periodontal disease, peri-implantitis or peri-implant disease is an inflammatory condition that destroys the hard and soft tissues around the teeth. Smoking, bruxism, diabetes mellitus, osteoporosis, radiation, chemotherapy, and long-term corticosteroid use can contribute to the development of peri-implantitis, as can poor implant design. Treatment for the condition may involve taking antibiotics, improving dental hygiene, stopping destructive influences (smoking), and surgically removing necrotic tissue to promote growth of healthy tissue.

If You Smoke, Should You Get Implants?

The obvious answer here is that the potential for implant success will be greater if you stop smoking before placement and do not smoke afterward. However, if you plan to continue smoking, be aware that you can get implants, if your oral surgeon is willing. In some cases, an oral surgeon does not want to get involved in a case where the risk for failure is heightened. However, some oral surgeons will place implants in smokers, as long as the smoker understands the risks.

Smokers are twice as likely as non-smokers to suffer from implant failure. Plan to stop smoking for at least a week before and several weeks after your implant surgery to reduce the risk of implant failure. There are many stop smoking programs to help you quit. Ask the dentist for a recommendation at your implant consultation.

Schedule Your Consultation Now

Dental implants can significantly improve your quality of life, self-image, and the ability to consume a healthy, natural diet. If you need one or more teeth replaced, or you’re tired of loose, ill-fitting dentures, contact Dr. McIntyre or Dr. Whiting at Smiles for Life to find out if implants are a good option for you, whether or not you smoke. The dentists will answer all of your questions and address your concerns.

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Dentists at Smiles for Life Dental Care

Smiles for Life Dental Care

The team of highly trained doctors at Smiles for Life wants to help you achieve and maintain a healthy smile for a lifetime. Because we want every patient to have access to the advanced treatments offered at our practice, we accept many insurance and financing options, including: 

  • Medicare 
  • Compassionate Finance™
  • CareCredit®
  • LendingClub®
  • Smile Rewards 

To get started, call our Bridgewater office at (540) 828-2312 or request an appointment online.

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