Smoking has long been associated with great risk of post operative complications in many surgical fields and its adverse effects in oral surgery and periodontics has been well documented. But how about dental implants?
Several studies have shown increased dental implants failure and complications in smokers vs. nonsmokers. Smoke has over 4000 toxins, including nicotine, carbon monoxide, nitrosamines, benzenes, aldehydes, and hydrogen cyanide. which impair the healing process and contribute to poorer results. Even if dental implants heal initially, the surrounding gum and bone tissue on the surface remains in direct exposure to the smoke and its damaging effects which can lead to mucositis, bone loss, and compromise implant longevity.
Smokers have an increased risk of complications (ie, infection, implant loss, mucositis, and peri-implantitis) compared with nonsmoking patients. Although dental implants can be placed in individuals who smoke, these patients should be encouraged to cease this habit or decrease its intensity, otherwise complications could occur.
So what can you do if you smoke and are getting dental implants?
- Stop smoking at least one month before your implant placement surgery.
- Consider nicotine patches to help you through the transition.
- Frequency and duration of smoking are key factors, therefore cutting down on smoking helps even if you can not stop smoking completely.
- Avoid smoking for at least 6 weeks after surgery as it increases risk of implant failure more during the early healing period.
- If you need an oral fixation,try a fake cigarette. It actually works.
Discuss your smoking habits with your oral surgeon and restorative dentist so they can help you through your treatment. Dental implants can be a lifetime replacement option for missing teeth, but only if you do your part to protect them.