Dental Implant Complications Caused by Smoking
The dental implant patient can develop a condition called peri-implantitis, which is the development of deep tissue pockets with inflammation around the dental implant. Smokers undergoing dental implant treatment are more susceptible to this condition.
Peri-implantitis causes increased loss of peri-implant bone and ultimately leads to implant failure. Various dental research studies have also established a connection between dental implant failure and smoking. However, if remedial action is taken on time, complications need not lead to dental implant failure.
How Smoking Affects the Success of Dental Implants
Ideally, dental implant patients should have good blood circulation to ensure that the gums heal fast. Dental implants require oxygen to integrate ideally with the bone. Nicotine in tobacco has a negative effect on blood flow to the tissues and bone surrounding the teeth and gums, and this in turn has a negative effect on bone healing. Smokers are also more prone to develop infection after surgery compared to non-smokers and take more time to heal. They are at a greater risk of periodontal disease and bone loss around teeth.
Apart from this, smoking reduces the potency of antibiotics that are given before or along with dental implant treatments. Smoking adversely affects the body’s natural ability to heal, particularly if there is an open wound that comes into contact with the smoke. The failure rate for dental implants in smokers was almost 16% compared to 1.5% for non-smokers, as recorded by a study conducted by researchers at the University of Murcia in Spain.
Your dental or oral health could be seriously damaged by smoking, with smokers being at increased risk of tooth loss, periodontal diseases, oral cancer and a slower healing period for tooth extractions. Most people are not aware of the connection between smoking and dental health though dentists obviously know and take an effort to educate people about this.
Can Smokers Undergo Dental Implant Treatment?
Not all dental surgeons believe that patients who smoke must be refused implant treatment, though it is believed that there is a direct link between smoking and implant failure. Ideally the patient planning for dental implant treatment should stop smoking for quite some time from the date of treatment, but since smoking is addictive it is often a difficult to achieve. Patients should stop smoking at least 3 days before the implant surgery and continue to refrain from it for at least two weeks following the treatment. Even that could be tough, but nicotine replacement therapy can help.
Dentists are duty-bound to inform prospective smoking patients about the risk levels involved, and about the benefits of restricting smoking not only in respect to the dental implant, but also in view of general oral, dental and physical health.