The dental and health community consider smoking to be unhealthy. But does that mean you’re not a candidate for dental implants?
If you smoke, it’s possible you will be able to get dental implants. However, it severely impacts your overall oral health and therefore will negatively affect the chances of a successful dental implant.
Keep in mind, cigarette smoking is associated with diseases and infections like periodontal disease and peri-implantitis as well as conditions like bone loss in the jaw, gum tissue loss, and even toothlessness.
Regardless, in this guide we’ll take a closer look at smoking and dental implants and at your options.
How Does Smoking Affect Dental Implants?
Studies have shown that the nicotine in tobacco reduces blood flow. In the case of dental implants, a lack of blood flow is not good because you need as much blood flow to your mouth as possible to allow proper and quick healing.
Also, the smoke you inhale may burn the tissues in your mouth and, over time, thicken the top layer of skin cells, creating a fibrous tissue rather than more bone. The smoke could also be damaging your salivary glands, which leads to a dry mouth, lacking the fluid to wash away bacteria
Some dentists may even refuse to give you an implant if you are a heavy and longtime smoker. It all depends on the condition of your gums and the underlying jawbone. Bone grafting can provide extra support and increase the likelihood of success, but it’s not a guarantee fix.
Are E-Cigarettes Safer Than Regular Cigarettes?
E-cigarettes have been marketed as the safer version of traditional cigarettes, but is this true in regard to dental implants?
E-cigs contain a little chamber with liquid inside that vaporizes caused by a small heating unit. So no smoke goes into your mouth, but the steam you inhale still has chemicals like nicotine and propylene glycol (to make the steam look like cigarette smoke).
So it’s very unlikely that e-cigs are any less threatening to your dental implant success than regular cigarettes.
Smoking And Dental Implant Procedure
So what are you supposed to do if you’re a smoker but you also need dental implants?
The ideal thing to do is to stop smoking at least one week before your procedure. And your dentist may prescribed antibiotics to decrease the chance of infection.
Then after the procedure, you should avoid smoking for at least two months after the implant placement. This will at least allow the osseointegration period to complete without the negative effects of smoking.
If you are smoking before, during, and after the stages of a dental implant procedure, it will greatly increase the chances of complications.
Dental Implant Failure Among Smokers
The rate of failed dental implants for non-smokers is as low as 1.4%.
The rate of failed dental implants for non-smokers is as low as 1.4%. On the other hand, the rate of implant failures in smokers is at 15.8%. So that means you’re more than 11 times more likely to have a failed implant if you smoke.
How To Quit Smoking
The idea of quitting seems nice, but the truth is, it can be very difficult. So below are some tips on how to quit from SmokeFree.gov.
Make A Plan
Make a “quit plan” — ways to stay focused on and motivated to quit smoking. You can build your own plan or find a local quit program.
Keeping yourself busy is actually a very effective way to stay smoke-free on the day you choose to quit. It can help your mind stay off of smoking and your cravings.
Here are some ideas to keep you busy;
- Go for a walk
- Chew gum or suck on candy
- Fiddle with a pen or toothpick
- Drink water
- Relax and breathe deeply
- Go to a movie
- Hang out with friend or family who don’t smoke
Triggers are things that can set of your urge to smoke — they can include certain people or places. On your quit day, avoid all of these triggers.
Here are a few tips to doing this:
- Throw away your cigarettes, lighters, and ashtrays
- Don’t drink caffeine (it can make you feel jittery), drink water
- Go to non-smoking public places
- Sleep enough and eat healthy
- Change your routine from what it was when you were a smoker
Quitting is a tough thing to do, so it’s important that you stay mentally positive. Just focus on today — what you can do right now that will help you get through the next craving. Reward yourself after 24, 48, 72 hours (but not with a cigarette).
Ask For Help
Asking for help is also difficult. But you can’t expect to quit on your own. Even though this is your battle, you can call for reinforcements. Let your friends and family know when your quit day is and ask them for help on that day.
Quitting smoking will allow you to have an overall healthier mouth and a more successful dental implant experience.
So if you’re a smoker, yes, you can get a dental implant. But the road will be less rocky if you quit before your implant procedure. That way, your mouth will have a bit of time to recuperate beforehand, and then you won’t have the temptation to smoke during and after the surgery.
This can lead to some very beneficial long-term effects on your mouth and your overall health.