Can smoking cause dental implant failure?

The short answer is yes. In addition to the other known ill effects of smoking, studies have shown that smoking increases the risk of dental implant failure. At Elite Dentistry of Simi Valley we recommend smoking cessation prior to receiving dental implants.

A dental implant is a device that is surgically placed in the jaw. The function of the implant is to act as an anchor in the jaw for replacement teeth. Implants are designed to be compatible with the human body and are typically made with material such as titanium. Due to the fact that implants need to be surgically implanted, it is important that each patient is in good health. The patient’s jaw also has have enough bone support in order for the implant to remain in place.

Statistics and studies on smoking and dental implants:

According to an article by Colgate Oral Health News, Spanish researchers observed 66 patients who received 165 implants. Their progress was followed for 5 years. The implant failure rate for smokers was 15.8%, whereas the failure rate for nonsmokers was just 1.4%.

This could be due to a variety of factors. Smoking is known to have an effect on blood pressure, which certainly plays a role in healing. However, according to an article published in PubMed Central, an archive of biomedical and life sciences journal literature at the U.S. National Institutes of Health’s National Library of Medicine, Tobacco has a negative effect on the outcome of almost all routine therapeutic procedures performed in the oral cavity. This includes everything from basic nonsurgical periodontal therapy to orthognathic surgeries. Smokers are also shown to respond less favorably to periodontal therapy than nonsmokers.

Most any dentist will tell you that the risk factor for gum disease and periodontal disease increases cigarette smoking. With this knowledge and the statistics noted above, it makes sense that the success of dental implants would be much lower in smokers. In addition to the known effects on blood pressure that are involved with smoking, evidence also suggests that nicotine can cause vasoconstriction, which is the narrowing of blood vessels. Without proper blood flow to the implant site, the area becomes at risk of not healing correctly.

Still another abstract from reviews studies of marginal bone loss in patients that smoke. The findings from these studies concludes that smoking is associated with “significantly increased rates of implant failure and marginal bone loss.”

Can patients that are smokers get dental implants?

Yes, if you are a patient who is also a smoker, you can still receive a dental implant surgery. However, it is important to be honest about your health history with your dentist or oral surgeon, and if you smoke, be sure to communicate how much and how often. As is true with any oral surgery, each patient case should be reviewed carefully by the doctor and the safest course of action with the best predicted outcome should be chosen.

As noted above, we recommend that you quit smoking prior to receiving a dental implant procedure and do not smoke for several months following the implantation. It is also critical that you practice good oral hygiene following your procedure. So, if you are in need of a dental implant, perhaps this is a great time to consider quitting smoking altogether?

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