Smoking and Dental Implants
Dental implants are a treatment for replacing missing teeth. This treatment is an incredible, modern alternative to traditional bridges and dentures. It uses small titanium posts that are surgically placed into your jawbone. The bone fuses to the posts in a natural process called osseointegration. This process stabilizes the posts in your jaw so that they can provide secure support for your replacement teeth. At North Atlanta Family Dentistry, we offer many different types of dental implants, allowing us to meet some different needs. Dental implants have a very high success rate. However, if you smoke, the habit can interfere with the success of your treatment.
How Smoking Affects Recovery Time
Cigarettes contain numerous chemicals that are harmful to your body. These chemicals limit the amount of oxygen in your blood and slow your blood flow. Not only does this deprive your healing tissues of oxygen, but it also slows the delivery of essential nutrients. As a result, it takes longer for your body to heal, which increases your risk of developing an infection. Additionally, smoking interferes with your immune system, which makes it more difficult for your body to fight off infection-causing bacteria, leaving you more vulnerable.
Smoking and Dry Socket
After surgery, clots form at the surgical sites. These clots help to seal the sites, stopping bleeding and preventing bacteria from getting into the body. The act of smoking can lead to a condition known as dry socket. This is a condition in which the blood clots become dislodged, leaving the wound open to bacterial invasions and infections.
An Increased Risk for Gum Disease
When you smoke, your risk for gum disease increases. Smoking increases the stickiness of plaque, a natural substance that forms on the surfaces of your teeth throughout the day. This makes it easier for bacteria to adhere to your teeth. These substances do not only collect on your natural teeth but on your replacement teeth as well.
Bacteria and plaque can both cause your gums to become irritated and inflamed. Untreated, your gums begin to pull away from your teeth, leading to the formation of pockets. Bacteria then collect in the pockets, causing the condition to worsen. Eventually, the bacteria reach your jawbone, where they cause the bone to weaken. This compromises the stability of your dental implants.
Smoking and Medication
Following surgery, you may be prescribed medication to help prevent the development of infections. If you smoke, the chemicals in cigarettes can interfere with these medications. This can render the medications ineffective.
Peri-implantitis is one of the leading causes of implant failure. As a smoker, your risk of inflamed tissue, including bone tissue, is much higher. Inflammation causes your bone to weaken, which can prevent the tissue from properly fusing to the implant posts.
Reducing Your Risk for Implant Failure
There are ways that you can reduce your risk for implant failure. One of the biggest things that you can do is to maintain a good oral hygiene routine. This includes brushing twice daily, flossing once daily, and having your mouth professionally cleaned and examined every 6 months. You should also quit smoking. You will be recommended to quit before surgery begins. If you cannot quit for good, you should at least quit until you have fully healed. It is important to keep in mind, though, that even if you have successfully healed from implant surgery, smoking can still cause implant failure several years later.
Quitting smoking is one way to help increase the success of your dental implant treatment. Additionally, quitting also helps to improve your overall health as well. For more information, call North Atlanta Family Dentistry at (470) 387-0500 today.