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How Does Smoking Affect Dental Implants and Oral Health?
Smoking affects your oral health in several ways that directly affect the success of dental implants.
1. Narrows Blood Vessels
Nicotine causes blood vessels to constrict. Whether your nicotine intake comes from smoking cigarettes, chewing tobacco, or vaping, one result is the same—narrow blood vessels that limit the amount of oxygen carried to your oral tissues. And the slower the blood flow and oxygen, the longer and more complicated the healing process will be after dental implant surgery.
2. Reduces Blood Flow
Osseointegration is the process during which your jawbone and dental implants fuse together and form an incredibly strong bond. But healing depends on blood flow. If the bone and dental implants don’t fully integrate, the implants can fail and need to be removed and replaced.
3. Masks Gum Disease
Smoking narrows blood vessels. Narrow vessels are slower to bleed than healthy ones. But bleeding gums are an early sign of gum disease. If this warning sign of gum disease is masked, it will become more difficult to detect. An undetected infection around a dental implant will likely lead to implant failure.
What Does a Recent Study Show?
The results of one study were published in a 2017 article published in the Journal of International Oral Health. The report reveals the following:
- Studies show that smokers have a higher risk of gum disease, tooth loss, and oral cancer.
- Smoking is associated with bone loss, poor bone quality, decreased bone height, and peri-implantitis—an infectious gum disease that contributes to bone loss.
- Bone resorption caused by long-term and frequent smoking increases the risk of dental implant failure.
What Can You Do?
Tell your oral surgeon – If you smoke or use products that contain nicotine, consider and carefully weigh the risks. Tell your oral surgeon that you smoke. It is vital to your oral health and the success of your dental implants that your surgeon knows about this risk.
Heed the advice – You may be advised to stop smoking for a specific period of time before implant surgery and throughout the healing process. If that’s the case, heed the advice. Dental implants are the most expensive form of tooth replacement. Protect your investment.
Get help – If you’re struggling with trying to break the habit, get help. Speak with your medical doctor and ask for advice or treatment that will help you stop smoking before you receive dental implants.
When you’re ready to move forward with replacing your missing teeth, schedule consultations with a least two skilled implant dentists. Compare several factors to help you choose the right provider:
- Explanation of your treatment options
- Each dentist’s level of training and experience
- Your interaction with the dentist and staff and the office environment
This post is sponsored by Dr. Michael Weiss, an accredited cosmetic dentist in Philadelphia, PA.