Dental implants are an excellent tooth replacement solution for many people, but smokers face an increased risk of the implants failing. If you are a smoker who is planning to get dental implants, your dentist will probably recommend that you kick the habit before you get the implants fitted. Here are five reasons to follow their advice.
1. Smoking Slows Healing After Oral Surgery
After you get oral surgery to fit your dental implants, you must go through a healing period. During this time, you might have some discomfort or pain in your gums, and perhaps even some bleeding. For most people, the pain fades quickly, but smoking can slow down the healing process, leaving you dealing with discomfort for longer.
2. Smoking Increases the Risk of Infection
After any oral surgery, there is a risk of infection. This is because bacteria can get into the incisions the surgeon makes in the gum tissue and begin to multiply. Smoking increases the risk of infection following surgery, making it more likely that you will have complications that could threaten your dental implant.
3. Smoking Reduces Blood Flow
After your dental implants have been placed in your mouth, the titanium posts that support the tooth-like crowns must integrate with your jawbone. For this process to occur, the jawbone must grow around the implant posts, which can only happen if the bone tissue has a good supply of nutrients. Smoking reduces blood flow, inhibiting bone growth and, therefore, making it more difficult for implants to fully integrate into the jaw.
4. Smoking Increases the Risk of Gum Disease
Smokers have double the risk of gum disease than non-smokers have. Gum disease is a serious problem in people who have dental implants, as gums that are not healthy cannot give the implants the support they need. Treatments for gum disease often do not work as well for smokers as they do for non-smokers, which means that over time your gum disease could advance to the point where your dentist is forced to remove your implants.
5. Dental Implants Fail More Often in Smokers
As a result of all the effects listed here, smokers have a much higher rate of dental implant failure than non-smokers. Whereas only 1.4 percent of dental implants placed in non-smokers fail, 15.8 percent fail when they are placed in smokers. In light of this shocking statistic, it is a good idea to get support with quitting from your doctor or dentist before you get dental implants.