For many patients, dental implants are the ideal solution to replace missing teeth. They allow people to chew properly, speak clearer, and feel better about the overall appearance of their smile. Smokers, however, are a special case. Our dental implant specialist and cosmetic dentist Jason Collier knows what it takes to provide successful dental implants, and he encourages smokers and other tobacco users who are considering this treatment in the Memphis area to seriously consider the additional risks they carry.
Smoking and Dental Implant Risks
Every surgery has risks, and dental implant surgery is no exception. Just like with any other surgery, smoking or using other tobacco products increases those risks. Smoking during and after dental implant treatment is associated with:
- An inflammatory condition known as peri-implantitis
- Slower rate of healing
- Increased risk of infection
- Increased risk of failed implants
- Reduced effectiveness of medications
The Danger of Peri-Implantitis
A common complication seen in smokers after their dental implant surgery is peri-implantitis, a condition in which the area around the implant becomes inflamed and a deep mucosal pocket develops. Because the mucosal pocket prevents the bone from fully healing and fusing around the implant, this condition causes the entire implant procedure to fail. Peri-implantitis can occur in any implant patient, however, the chances are relatively high among those who smoke.
Other Increased Risks
Smoking interferes with several of the body's normal healing functions, which is why it's universally recommended for patients to quit smoking before any surgery. Nicotine reduces the oxygen supply in the blood, hinders the body's ability to fight infections, and reduces the effectiveness of antibiotics and other medications. These effects mean a slower healing process, increased complications, and a higher likelihood of implant failure. Some experts believe pipe smoking is even worse because it exposes the upper jaw to higher temperatures than cigarette smoking.
How You Can Quit
If you are considering dental implants to replace some or all of your teeth, there has never been a better time to quit smoking. Use this life-changing treatment as an incentive to help you kick the habit. Before committing to dental implant treatment, you should plan to quit smoking for a minimum of seven weeks - at least one week before implant surgery and the six weeks of recovery after the procedure. Ask family and friends for their help, or seek support groups to assist you through the process. With determination, you could be saying goodbye to this bad habit for good!
Learn More about Dental Implants
Dr. Jason Collier has a reputation for giving patients the best results with dental implants, ranging from single tooth replacements to highly complex full mouth reconstructions. If you are ready to dramatically improve your quality of life with dental implants and are mentally prepared to stop smoking during the treatment, we invite you to schedule a consultation with Dr. Collier. Our entire team at the Southern Dental Implant Center looks forward to understanding your concerns and helping you achieve new levels of health and happiness.