Smoking and Dental Implants
Dental implants are a modern-day treatment used to replace missing teeth. This incredible treatment uses small titanium posts that are surgically placed into your jawbone. Your bone fuses to the posts in a process called osseointegration as you heal. This process stabilizes the posts within your jaw, allowing them to provide secure support for your replacement teeth. At Raptou Family Dental, we can provide dental implants to meet some different needs. While implants have a very high success rate, there are certain factors that can affect them. One of these factors is smoking.
Smoking and Recovering from Implant Surgery
Dental implants require surgery, which then requires a recovery period. The length of your recovery will depend upon many factors, including how many implant posts are placed. Cigarettes contain numerous harmful chemicals. These chemicals can significantly interfere with your recovery from surgery. Many of the chemicals in cigarettes limit the amount of oxygen in your blood and also slow your blood flow. This slows the delivery of available oxygen and essential nutrients to your surgical sites, slowing the recovery process. When healing is slowed, your risk for developing an infection greatly increases.
In the early stages of recovery, clots form at the surgical sites. These clots help to stop bleeding and prevent bacteria from entering into the wounds. The physical act of smoking, namely inhaling, can cause the clots to become dislodged. When this happens, the wounds are left open, allowing bacteria to travel inside.
How Smoking Affects Medications
After implant surgery, you may be prescribed medication to help prevent infections from developing. Smoking while taking these medications is not recommended. This is because smoking can interfere with the medications, rendering them completely ineffective.
Smoking and Gum Disease Risk
Smoking can increase your risk of gum disease. It makes plaque, which develops on the surfaces of your natural teeth and your dental implants, stickier. As a result, bacteria can adhere more easily to the surfaces of your teeth. Both plaque and bacteria irritate your gums, which then leads to inflammation.
If gum disease develops, getting treatment right away is essential. Without treatment, your gums begin to pull away from your teeth, both real and replacement. This leads to the formation of periodontal pockets. Bacteria fall into these pockets. Over time, the pockets grow deeper. The bacteria eventually reach your jawbone, causing the bone to weaken. When this happens, the stability of your dental implants becomes compromised. Your posts can become loose, and you may experience complete implant failure.
Reducing Your Risk for Implant Failure
There are ways that you can reduce your risk for implant failure. One of the biggest things that you can do if you are a smoker is to quit smoking. You will be recommended to quit for good before you undergo surgery. If you are unable to quit for good, you will need to abstain from smoking at least throughout the duration of your treatment. It is important to keep in mind though that smoking can still impact the success of your dental implants even after successful healing.
Smoking not only affects your health, but it can also impact the success of your dental implant treatment. For more information, call Raptou Family Dental at (614) 427-0449 today.