Dental implants and smoking – cause for concern?

A Girl Smoking

It is a truth universally acknowledged that smoking is bad for the health. Smokers who look for options to replace missing teeth, should consider quitting for good. This is because smoking and dental implants do not agree with each other.

Dental implants are small titanium posts, which are surgically positioned into the jawbone beneath the gum line, allowing an experienced dentist, such as the ones at Moor Park Dental in London, to mount replacement teeth into that area. Dental implants offer an attractive and comfortable alternative for those who have lost one or more teeth due to decay or injury, providing a permanent replacement option with many health benefits. Because they fuse with the jawbone, dental implants prevent its deterioration and encourage the creation of bone tissue.

However, smoking can seriously compromise the success of dental implants. Recent studies have shown that smokers experience a much higher occurrence of implant failure compared to non-smokers, especially in the early stages of healing. More importantly, smoking can also reduce the life expectancy of dental implants due to many reasons.

Reduced blood flow

Nicotine and other harmful substances contained in cigarettes gradually reduce blood flow to the gums, preventing the transference of nutrients needed for them to stay healthy. During the healing period following dental implant surgery, reduced blood flow can also delay the successful attachment of the dental implants into the jawbone.

Dry mouth

One of the major side-effects of smoking is dryness in the mouth, caused by the temporary reduction of saliva flow. Teeth and gums must be moist in order to remain healthy, not to mention that dry mouth encourages the growth of bacteria in the mouth, leading to sensitive and inflamed gums – an early sign of gum disease. A dry mouth, caused by smoking during implant recovery, can also facilitate infection and lead to the failure of dental implants.

Generally, smokers who opt for dental implants risk longer recovery times, various complications and potential loss of dental implants. If quitting is out of the question, it is really important to reduce or stop smoking during healing time. This will increase the chances of successful dental implants.