Dental Implants and Smoking
Virginia Beach, VA
Dental implants are titanium posts that are surgically embedded into the jaw bone underneath the gum line. Shaun B. Rai DMD will mount a replacement crown or bridge on top that resembles a natural tooth in look and function. The post acts as a tooth root to provide tactile stimulation to the jaw bone. Dental implants are a highly effective and popular method of tooth restoration. A candidate must have strong bone and healthy gum tissue to support them.
Smoking and Implant Failure
If you’re preparing for or recovering from dental implant surgery, Shaun B. Rai DMD will tell you not to light one up. If you smoke, you will increase the chances of the dental implants failing.
A five-year study covering 66 patients who received 165 dental implants concluded that nonsmokers had their implants fail 1.4 percent of the time. Smokers had an implant failure rate of 15.8 percent.
Not only do smokers have a failure rate over eleven times higher than that of nonsmokers, but they also have an increased risk of infection after surgery and can take longer to heal.
Can you get Dental Implants if you Smoke?
You will need to commit to quit smoking if you want dental implants, at least for the period before the surgery and for the duration of the recovery period. We will determine your candidacy during the consultation and examine the strength and health of your jaw bones with the aid of X-rays.
We can take certain measures to raise the chances of the implants working, including bone grafts, conservative healing techniques, extending the healing period, and, of course, quitting smoking.
How long must I wait after Dental Implant Surgery until I can smoke again?
Every surgery has prescriptions for the post-op period that you must follow to expedite the healing process. For dental implant surgery, eat a diet of soft foods, limit your physical activity, and stop smoking for two to three months so that that process of osseointegration can run its course.
For a few days after the surgery, your body will produce blood clots to prevent bleeding, cover the bone and nerves, and protect the surgical site from bacteria and food residue. If a blood clot is removed too soon, a dry socket can form, which can develop into a painful condition. You are very vulnerable to this condition within the first 72 hours after surgery. Blood clots can loosen if they receive enough force. Activities that can create enough force to do this including drinking from straws, inhaling smoke, and spitting.
We often prescribe antibiotic mouthwashes or salt water for rinsing. If you end up using one of them, avoid spitting it out. Instead lean over a sink, open your mouth, and let the liquid fall out. It’s also worth noting that the suction action of smoking is also harder on blood clots, potentially resulting in a painful and drawn out recovery period.
If you decide to resume smoking after the recovery period ends, you must pay closer attention to how you take care of your implants.
Also, keep in mind the numerous health problems caused by tobacco usage. The litany includes asthma, diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, cataracts, blindness, age-related macular degeneration, heart disease stroke, and cancer — all the more reason to quit. Smoking will cause problems for your implants and possibly even bigger problems for your general health, on which the success of your implants depend.
For more information, please contact our office at (757) 425-5781.