August 22, 2021
Living with any number of teeth missing can make it difficult to do basic things, like eating and speaking clearly. Dental implants provide an effective and lasting solution. There’s only one problem; you’re a smoker. Will your tobacco usage impact the success of your tooth replacement? Continue reading to learn about the relationship between smoking and dental implants so you can make an informed decision about the future of your oral health.
What Smoking Can Do to Your Mouth
When you smoke, toxins are released inside your mouth. They can cause extreme dryness, which can become problematic. That’s because saliva has antibacterial properties and also helps to flush lingering debris from your mouth. With decreased moisture, more bacteria accumulate, which can lead to a failed dental implant.
Here are two other issues that can arise from dry mouth related to smoking:
- Gum disease – As bacteria accumulate, they can soon settle beneath the gum line to contribute to gum (periodontal) disease, which is the inflammation and infection of the soft tissue. Compromised gum health can cause an implant to fail.
- Gum recession – Unaddressed bacteria accumulation can also lead to gum recession. As the tissue decreases in size, there is less support available for the implant. This can cause it to eventually unseat and fail.
How Smoking Can Impact Post-Surgery Healing
After an implant is placed, your body’s natural healing properties are relied upon. During the recovery process, the implant also fuses with the underlying jawbone (called osseointegration) to form a sound and lasting new root structure.
Smoking can slow the healing and fusion processes. Furthermore, dry mouth related to smoking can inhibit healing by causing the blood clot (that naturally forms after surgery) to dislodge.
Talk to Your Dentist About It
During the planning phase prior to your surgery, it’s best to be upfront with your dentist about your smoking. While it’s evident that tobacco usage can decrease the chances of having a successful procedure, your dentist can possibly provide suggestions for ways to curb your appetite so you can have your smile and oral health restored. This may include recommendations for counseling, products or other methods for better lifestyle management.
When it comes to the benefits that you stand to gain from having a completely in-tact and functional smile that can last up to 30 years, it’s well worth the extra effort. By taking the right steps now, you can enjoy a bright and more fulfilling future!
About the Author
Dr. Mark D. Medaugh earned his dental degree from the University of Pennsylvania. Throughout his career, he has stayed abreast of the latest changes and advancements in dentistry by taking several hours of continuing education. Dr. Medaugh loves helping his patients rejuvenate their oral health and regain confidence by placing dental implants at Valley Dentists of Belchertown, and he can be reached for more information or to schedule a visit through his website.
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