Dental implants are one of the most popular treatment options as they offer the best long-lasting, permanent solution for missing teeth. However, implants need a good foundation to be successful. They need healthy gums and a strong jawbone. However, it can be known that smoking damages gums and teeth. It causes discoloration, plaque, bone loss, gum disease, oral cancer and tooth loss. But what effect does smoking have on dental implants and the healing process, and does smoking cause implant failure?
With this in mind, “Can smokers get dental implants?” You may be wondering. The good news is that yes, smokers can get dental implants.
But while smokers can get dental implants, they are more likely to experience complications, dental implants are more likely to fall out, and additional treatment may be needed before the implants are inserted.
For implants to be successful, dentists will advise you to quit smoking before treatment.
Effects of Smoking on Oral Health and Dental Implants
The success of dental implants largely depends on osseointegration, that is, as the jawbone grows around the implant and fuses with the implant. One of the main factors affecting this process is the bone and gingival tissue in the place(s) where the implant will be placed.
The gums should be healthy and free from a disease such as periodontitis, and the bone should be strong, not weakened or shrunken.
The problem with smoking is that it is the leading cause of gum and jawbone disease. It weakens the exact area of the mouth where you need to be strong to hold the teeth and implants in place.
How Does Smoking Affect the Jawbone?
In addition to persistent bad breath and severe yellowing of the teeth, smoking causes the following problems:
.Increased plaque level
Plaque is a sticky film containing bacteria. If this is not removed, it causes inflammation around the tooth, causing periodontal disease.
.Damage to gums
Smoking causes the soft tissue around the teeth to loosen, so bacteria can enter under the gums and reach the roots of the teeth and damage them.
Smoking disrupts the way the salivary glands work, leading to a decrease in the amount and quality of saliva produced. This is called dry mouth and significantly increases the chances of gum disease as there is no way to wash away food residues or bacteria from the surface of the teeth.
The above facts highlight a huge link between smoking and gum disease. Experts state that smokers are 2 times more likely to develop gum disease than non-smokers.
.Osteopenia and Osteoporosis
Bone cells are constantly being renewed. Smoking is known to impair the production of new cells for a variety of reasons, leading to lower bone mass and bone mineral density, making bone vulnerable to osteoporosis and fracture. When this happens in the jawbone, you run the risk of tooth loss.
Because the success of titanium implants depends on the fusion of the implant and jawbone, osteoporosis can prevent this from happening.
How Does Smoking Cause Instability?
The structure and strength of the jawbone, as well as the effect of smoking on the gums, can make the foundations on which you are about to place implants less solid. This means that implants are less likely to be successful.
If you continue to smoke after the implants are in place, it can weaken the structures that hold your implants and the natural teeth you have in place.
Smoking is responsible for the fall of natural and implant teeth.
How Does Smoking Affect the Implant Process?
Dental implants require a surgical procedure in which an incision is made in the gum and a hole in the jawbone to insert the implant.
After implant surgery, the gums should heal and the jawbone should integrate with the implants.
It is known that smoking impairs wound healing and affects bone growth around the implant, preventing osseointegration from happening as fast as it should.
This is mainly because smoking restricts blood flow to the bones and gums. This reduces the amount of oxygen delivered to the bone and gums, which are vital for wound healing.
Nicotine slows the critical production of bone-forming cells, which means that bone growth and implant integration are slowed.
If the gums do not heal and the bone does not grow large enough to fuse with the dental implant, the structures needed to hold your new implants will not be there. The implants will not become a permanent fixture in your jaw and will fall out.
Preoperative Treatment for Smokers
Your first steps are always a comprehensive consultation where we get to know you and your dental history. We will find out if smoking affects your mouth. If you smoke and it has caused damage or disease to the gums and/or bone, this will need to be treated before dental implants are inserted.
.Gum disease is treated
Gum disease is one of the leading causes of tooth loss and causes a reduction in the amount of gum tissue and jawbone. Both are necessary to hold your dental implants and teeth in place.
Treating gum disease will prevent further loss of the gums and jawbone so you have nice solid foundations.
However, once gum disease is treated, more smoking can result in peri-implantitis, a condition similar to gum disease as we mentioned above, but affecting the tissues around the implanted tooth.
.Soft tissue graft
If smoking has caused gum disease that leads to significant gum recession, a soft tissue graft may be applied to restore the gum tissue.
The transplanted gum tissue ensures that your gums are deep enough to hold your dental implants in place and covers the exposed nerves, eliminating the sensitivity and pain caused by gum recession.
Bone grafting may be done if smoking has caused a significant reduction in the amount of bone in your jaw. The implanted bone will increase the height of your jawbone so it is strong enough and deep enough for dental implants to fit.
However, smoking can prevent successful grafting of bone and compromise your planned implant placement.
Smoking After a New Implant
The first few weeks after the implants are placed is a very important period. This is when the jawbone begins to fuse with the implants. Smoking during this period may increase the risk of infection and cause deterioration of the jawbone. This will cause them to fall.
Is Electronic Cigarette Harmful to Dental Implants?
Although marketed as safer than conventional cigarettes, there is growing evidence to suggest that e-cigarettes are just as bad for our oral health. The nicotine they contain causes irritation and dryness in the mouth. Vaping causes gum disease.
Dental implants are the best long-term solution to replace missing teeth. But they need a solid jawbone and healthy gums to accommodate them. Smoking before and after implant treatment has harmful effects on both the gums and the jawbone. It causes complications and increases the risk of implant failure.
However, just because you smoke doesn’t mean you won’t get dental implants, but if you continue to smoke you can jeopardize your cosmetic.