Smoking is always risky business when it comes to your health. It can make replacing teeth with dental implants more complicated but not impossible. Smoking has several adverse effects on your overall oral health and will affect the chances of a successful dental implant. According to Colgate, if you’ve recently gotten a dental implant, it’s highly advised you do not light up as smoking drastically increases the risk of dental implant failure. In this study, Spanish researchers studied 66 patients who received 165 implants and followed their progress for five years. The studies showed that the implant failure rate for smokers was 15.8 per cent compared to just 1.4 per cent in nonsmokers.

What are dental implants:

A dental implant is actually a replacement for the root or roots of a tooth. They are used to secure crowns, bridges or dentures.

When will you need dental implants?

You will need implants if you have lost teeth or need to replace teeth which have been removed for various reasons (i.e. either the teeth have rotted away or they were broken in an accident).

How does smoking affect dental implants?

Studies have shown that the nicotine in tobacco reduces blood flow. This can have adverse effects because you need as much blood flow as possible to allow for proper and quick healing. Secondly, the smoke you inhale may burn the tissues in your mouth.  Over time, this will thicken the top layer of skin cells, creating a fibrous tissue rather than more bone. The smoke can also damage your salivary glands which leads to a dry mouth. A dry mouth reduces the saliva necessary to wash away bacteria.

What to do if you’re a smoker but also need dental implants?

It’s recommended that you cut back (ideally stop) one week prior to your procedure. After you’ve completed the procedure, you should try to avoid smoking for two months after the implant, which will allow the osseointegration (anchoring of a surgical implant) period to complete. There’s no easy way to put this. Nothing good comes from smoking in regards to your implants, but quitting is easier said than done. So if you are going to continue to smoke, it’s important to understand how it will affect you, your dental implants, and how best to care for them.