Dental implant FAQs
Can I Have Dental Implants If I Smoke?
Dental implants are a possible option for smokers, however they are more likely to fail due to the adverse effects of smoking. If you currently smoke, but require dental implants then there are some considerations to be aware of. The procedure of placing dental implants becomes more complicated and once in place the implants are likely to have a reduced lifespan or even be more susceptible to failure. These possibilities are a risk for smokers and as such it is highly recommended that patients stop smoking altogether in preparation for dental implants.
The general effects of smoking on oral health include:
- Keratosis, thicker top layer skin cells from consistent burning due to the inhaled smoke
- Damage to the saliva glands, resulting in a dryer mouth that promotes disease causing bacteria and can worsen periodontitis (gum disease)
- Reduced blood flow, caused by nicotine and other by-products, affecting healing and immune systems
Effects on Implant Lifespan
Aside from the increased risk of these it is possible for smokers to have dental implants and to have them last a very long time. Recommendations to help improve the lifespan of the implant are vital to the osseo-integration and ongoing health. Osseo-integration is the process of the jawbone fusing with the titanium screw implant, the post on which ceramic false teeth are attached. The initial few weeks following surgery are arguably the most important, where osseo-integration starts and the bone begins to fuse with the implant. Smoking during this time can greatly increase the chance of infection and lead to implant failure/loss.
Following on from this the implant is still at an increased risk from smoking. Bone loss around dental implants have been shown to be as much as 0.16 mm per year, which although small is a significant amount and can add up quickly as the years pass by.
What to do next?
If you are a smoker that requires dental implants, then speak to our specialists today to book a consultation. In general, we would recommend giving up smoking altogether, however we otherwise recommend at least a week before surgery, at least 2 weeks after and that very good oral health is kept up.