As you might imagine, your mouth and lungs are at the forefront of the smoking “assault” on your oral health:
Dental implants are made of titanium, which has special surface properties that allow live bone to fuse with it. The first three weeks after oral surgery are critical for healing. Your recovery will be delayed if you are smoking during this time. This increases the risk of infection and early implant loss, especially when a bone graft has been completed. Even when healing is complete, the environment in the mouth of a smoker is more dangerous, making implant failure a higher risk over time.
If you are considering dental implants, it’s important to know that 92% all dental implant patients report complete success and long-term implant survival. Of the 8% that report dental implant failure, over half of those reporting were smokers.
A study in Spain showed that smokers with dental implants had a failure rate of almost 16% while non-smokers had only a 1.4% rate of failure.
So you might be wondering, how does smoking work to impact one’s healing process? Whether it’s oral or any other kind of surgery, you may know that oxygen is a critical component to healing:
Another negative factor is the Polonium in tobacco products. Polonium is said to be “the most carcinogenic substance known to man.” Smoking causes additional exposure to it. Studies have shown that within 12-24 hours of smoking cessation, there is a significant decrease in the effects of carbon monoxide in the body, and much of the nicotine in the bloodstream will be gone. Unfortunately, a short-term cessation of smoking in terms of pulmonary effects, is not really enough, and at least four smoke-free weeks prior to oral surgery is needed to reach optimum risk reduction.
Patients who have been able to quit for ten weeks or more will have their risk reduced to almost the same level as patients who have never smoked.
If you smoke, you still should consider implants to replace missing or failing teeth. According to the American Dental Association (ADA), dental implants are one of the most important advances in dentistry during the past 40 years.
It is however, important to get the expert opinion of a knowledgeable and experienced implant specialist in Costa Rica to discuss a plan for your smoking cessation. If you’re missing one or more teeth, dental implants are a great way to help you look and feel more confident. Our dental experts can help you decide whether implants are your best option.
But if you think you can’t stop, at least stop smoking for one week before and two weeks after implant placement. And if even that is going to be too difficult for you, at least go on a smoking “diet”: restrict the number of cigarettes you smoke by 50% (we know you can do at least that much!). Dental implants are a big investment, and we want to make sure that your dental implants succeed for a lifetime!
If you have questions about smoking and dental implants, please fill out our contact form and we will respond to any concern you may have. Our team of dentists and dental surgeons can help you understand what you need to learn about the risks and benefits associated with dental implants and smoking. We’re here to help.