When you were a child, it was exciting to lose your teeth. But as an adult, it’s something that creates a feeling of depression and sadness. Since you lost yours, things just haven’t been the same for you. There’s been a noticeable drop in your confidence, the number of times you smile and your willingness to get out and enjoy life. You’re seriously considering dental implants, but you’ve heard that smoking is counterproductive to their effectiveness and healing. This creates a dilemma because you want a new start, but you don’t want to give up your habit. You’re wondering, “Is there a way around this?” Your local dentist has some answers.
What are Dental Implants?
Let’s briefly discuss what dental implants are. They are surgically implanted titanium posts that are fixed to your jawbone, functioning similarly to the roots of your teeth. After the procedure is done, there is a period of healing and bonding between the implant and your bone. And this is where a smoking habit can have a big impact.
The Effect of Smoking on Implants
In a recent study of 66 patients who received 165 implants, 15.8% of those who were smokers had failed procedures, as opposed to 1.4% for the nonsmokers. Thus, we can conclude from those results that smoking is related to dental implant failure.
Here are some of the adverse effects that smoking has on your dental implants:
- Weakens Bone Structure – The proper bonding and longevity of your dental implant depends on there being healthy bone material for it to attach to. Smoking is detrimental to this because its toxins degenerate, instead of reinvigorate tissue and bone.
- Lack of Oxygen – You may think that oxygen is only used by the heart and lungs, but in reality, your entire body uses and recycles it. Thus, it plays a huge role in the health of your mouth when it is allowed to circulate properly. But smoking lessens your overall supply.
- Gum Disease – Smoking also increases your risk of gum disease due to the bacteria growth that it encourages in your mouth. If the area is infected where the implant has been placed, it could jeopardize the healing and recreate the situation that led to you needing the implant.
Another health concern that smoking and tobacco use present, is oral cancer. This is based on the understanding that the chemicals in these products release harmful toxins and carcinogens (cancer-causing) that act as the antithesis of a balanced and well state.
Even if you’ve smoked for years, it still will help your situation if you don’t indulge after the implant procedure is done, while your mouth is healing.
Reach out to your dentist to learn more about how you can restore your missing teeth and ways to adopt a healthier lifestyle, so that you can enjoy total wellness and a great smile for years to come.
About the Author
Dr. Joe Griffin received his undergraduate degree from the University of Tennessee-Knoxville and then went on to earn his Doctor of Dental Surgery degree from UT-Memphis. He also has extensive training in implant fixture placement and advanced bone grafting procedures from the Midwest Implant Institute. Dr. Griffin practices at Cornerstone Dental Arts and can be reached for more information through his website.