If you are a smoker, you most likely already understand the numerous health risks associated with tobacco use. What you may not realize is that smoking also has serious and harmful effects on your oral health.
In fact, if you smoke and want dental implants, your dentist will likely tell you that you need to stop or cut back dramatically. There are several reasons why smoking is a particularly bad idea if you want implants, but first, let's look at the impact smoking has on your overall oral health.
How Smoking Affects Oral Health
Smoking weakens your body's immune system. Smokers also develop bacterial plaque and tartar more quickly than nonsmokers and, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, are twice as likely to develop gum disease than nonsmokers.
You are not only more prone to gum infection if you smoke, but it's likely to be more severe and take longer to heal after treatment. And it doesn't matter if you smoke cigarettes or a pipe or chew tobacco—all tobacco use raises your risk for gum disease.
How Smoking Affects Dental Implant Placement
Dental implants are the number one choice of dentists for tooth replacement. Implants are a long-term solution to tooth loss and have an impressive 98 percent success rate.
However, tobacco use dramatically reduces the success rate and longevity of a dental implant for several reasons.
Smoking Affects Your Body's Ability to Heal
Because smoking reduces the amount of oxygen in the bloodstream, it inhibits the healing process after implant placement. Since smoking compromises your body's natural ability to heal itself, patients who smoke can experience slower and more painful recovery.
Smoking Interferes with Osseointegration
Dental implants work so well because they integrate with the jawbone after they're placed. This is called osseointegration, and it's part of the healing process that makes a dental implant so stable and secure.
Since smoking compromises your body's ability to heal itself, however, the process of osseointegration slows down and can ultimately result in implant failure.
Smoking Compromises Long-Term Implant Results
When you are thinking about getting a dental implant, one of the topics your dentist will review with you is the importance of excellent gum health. If you commit to excellent oral hygiene and routine teeth cleanings with your hygienist, your dentist can last a lifetime.
Since smokers are at increased risk for gum disease, which is the greatest threat to the stability and longevity of your implant, they are also at increased risk for implant failure.
Expert Dental Implant Placement in Aurora, CO
If you smoke and are interested in dental implants, call Baller Dental & Ortho at Southlands to schedule an appointment. Dr. Holly Baller has performed hundreds of successful implant placement surgeries and can explain the process and what's required for tobacco users.