If you are a smoker and want dental implants, then your dentist will likely inform you that it is in your best interest to stop smoking as soon as possible. Smoking has a number of direct and negative consequences on the implant process. Keep reading to learn a little more so you know what types of problems you may be looking at.
Smoking has long been associated with bone loss conditions such as osteoporosis and fractures. It is unclear whether smoking has a direct impact on the bones themselves or whether the appetite suppression and poor nutrition associated with smoking is to blame for this. It is clear though that this sort of issue can have a serious impact on the function of your dental implant.
Dental implants require a substantial amount of bone density to remain secure and stable in the mouth. The natural teeth have ligament tissues that help with this, but implants do not have these tissues. They instead rely solely on the jaw bone for their strength. And, when density of the bone decreases, the dental implant is more and more likely to break free from the bone. This results in movement of the artificial tooth and likely a complete failure.
If you smoke, then you likely have a bone density issue that must be addressed before an implant can be secured. This may mean waiting to see if the bones build up more substantially once you quit smoking or a bone graft procedure before implant placement.
Smoking can greatly increase your risks of developing an infection. And, an infection around a dental implant is likely to cause complete failure of the device. Oral infections occur for a variety of reasons. Smoking leads to the swelling of the salivary glands and this prevents them from producing and excreting saliva as they normally should. This results in a dry mouth and the ability of bacteria to flourish and infect the gums.
When it comes to the gums, smoking can actually burn the delicate tissues, especially if you smoke a cigar or a pipe. And, the habit causes damage to blood vessels. This damage means minimal blood flow and reduced movement of white blood cells. These cells are instrumental in fighting off infections, so without them, infections can develop.
Keep in mind that nicotine will also constrict and damage blood vessels. So, nicotine replacement products may not be ideal in quitting smoking before your implant operation.