Dental Implants and Smoking: Understanding the Risks

You can get dental implants if you smoke, but it puts you at risk for some potential complications.

Dental Implants and Smoking

Cigarette smokers are more susceptible to complications both during recovery from dental implant surgery and after the healing process is complete. If you smoke and are considering tooth replacement, it’s important for you to understanding how tobacco use may affect the success of your dental implants.

Smoking After Dental Implant Surgery

For tooth implants to be stable and secure within the gums, the titanium posts must fuse with the jawbone — a process called osseointegration.

Smokers who light up immediately or soon after dental implant surgery inhibit osseointegration and delay healing. Smoking during the recovery period also boosts the chances of infection and early implant failure.

Smoking After Dental Implants Have Healed

Smoking doesn’t ever stop being a potential problem for dental implants. The risk for complications — including peri-implantitis, an infectious inflammatory condition, and implant failure — may compound over time.

Research has shown that the annual rate of bone loss in the jaw is greater for smokers than for non-smokers. More rapid jawbone degeneration can have a negative effect on the implant’s integrity, which means smoking may increase the likelihood of future implant failure.

Reducing the Effect of Smoking on Dental Implants

Oral surgeons recommend that you try to quit smoking for the best chance of a successful outcome from your dental implant surgery. A smoking cessation program could even help you break the habit for good.

If you aren’t ready to quit, try to take a break from tobacco for at least a week before getting tooth implants, and stay away from cigarettes for at least two weeks after your new teeth are placed.

In addition, be mindful of oral hygiene. Take proper care of your dental health, including scheduling regular checkups and dental cleanings. This is crucial if you’re a smoker — particularly if you aren’t able to quit.

Smoking makes dental implant surgery more complicated, so the procedure should be completed by an experienced oral surgeon who specializes in this method of tooth replacement. For expert care and treatment in the greater Salt Lake City area, visit Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery of Utah.

Our highly skilled, board-certified oral surgeons understand the challenges of implant surgery for smokers and can recommend an achievable treatment approach to replace your missing teeth. To schedule a consultation to discuss dental implants, contact our Cottonwood Heights, South Jordan or Tooele office today.