Smoking and Implant Failure
Flower Mound, TX
Dental implants are surgically placed to restore the root of a missing tooth. Once the implant has bonded to the bone, we can then place a crown, bridge or denture over the implant. Dental implants are a great option for many patients, and they are known for having a high rate of success along with being appropriate even for patients who are in delicate health. We may need to discuss steps with your physician prior to treatment to increase a patient’s healing ability. A vital step in the bonding is the patient’s ability to heal, smoking tobacco decreases your healing rate, often causing implant failure.
Your mouth is at the front lines of a smoking assault. The effects of smoking directly impact your immune system and overall health. We can provide you with the information you need to increase your body’s ability to heal prior to oral surgery.
How Dental Implants Work
A dental implant is different from other dental restorations. We are doing more than replacing a tooth with a false one, we are rebuilding the foundation of the missing tooth. A dental implant is a titanium metal rod that we insert into the bone, which will serve as a new tooth root. This means that the false tooth does not rely on neighboring teeth for support, but is in direct contact with the jawbone, much like your natural teeth. Dental implants work due to your body’s natural ability to heal bone tissue around metal, through a process known as osseointegration or the taking in into the bone. Surgeons use titanium pins, plates and rods in surgical procedures all over the skeleton repairing hips, shoulders, knees and more because of this natural healing ability.
For this procedure of implanting a metal rod to be successful, the patient’s body needs to be able to heal properly.
How does smoking decrease my ability to heal?
Smoking tobacco causes damage to every organ of the body and decreases your ability to heal. This is due to the constriction of capillaries, decreasing blood flow. Clinical studies have shown the effects of a single cigarette reduces the peripheral blood velocity by 40% in just one hour. In addition, patients who smoke are at great risk of developing an infection, this is also due to the body’s inability to fight bacteria associated with blood flow restriction.
Besides reducing blood flow, the use of tobacco increases carcinogens into the body that causes damage.
Smoking does not eliminate a patient as a candidate for implant surgery, but we will want the patient to take some steps to increase their ability to heal, which will include ceasing smoking for a certain period of time. In general, we would like to see patients cease smoking 1-2 weeks prior to surgery, and then continue to refrain from smoking for a period of 2-3 months following surgery. This step will help your dental implants have a higher rate of success.
If you smoke, ask our staff at DFW Oral Surgeons for tips and information on how to temporarily quit.