How Smoking Can Increase Risk of Implant Failure
Dental implants are an incredible treatment used to replace missing teeth, providing you with an alternate option to bridges and dentures. This treatment uses small titanium posts that are surgically placed into your jawbone. Your bone gradually fuses to the posts as you heal, a process called osseointegration. This process turns the posts into stable roots that provide secure support for your replacement teeth. Implants have a very high success rate, but there are certain factors that can increase your likelihood for failure. One of the major contributing factors to implant failure is smoking. Pacific Oral & Facial Surgery Center can help.
What Exactly is Implant Failure?
Once your implants have been placed, your jawbone slowly fuses to the posts. Osseointegration stabilizes the posts within your jaw, enabling them to provide strong, secure support for your dental restorations. If your jawbone does not fuse properly, however, this can lead to your posts being loose, causing unstable replacement teeth. This is known as implant failure, and it can happen at any time during your time with dental implants, whether it is during your recovery period or years after your implants have been placed.
How Smoking Affects Recovery Time
Cigarettes contain numerous chemicals, all of which can harm your body. Many of these chemicals can limit oxygen in your blood while also slowing your blood flow. These factors mean that your gums and jawbone are not getting the essential nutrients they need to heal properly. Your healing time is slowed significantly, an issue that can greatly increase your risk for developing infections as well as for experiencing implant failure.
Interfering with Post-Surgical Medications
In some cases, you may be prescribed antibiotics during your recovery time to help prevent the development of infections when you are most vulnerable. The chemicals in cigarettes, however, often interfere with antibiotics, reducing their effectiveness.
Risk of Dry Socket
Immediately following surgery, clots form at the surgical wounds. If you smoke, the act of inhaling on a cigarette can cause the clots to become dislodged, leaving open, vulnerable wounds. Bacteria can more easily get inside the surgical wounds, leading to infections and implant failure.
Increased Risk of Gum Disease
Even if all of your teeth have been replaced by dental implants, they can still collect plaque and bacteria, both of which can contribute to gum disease. Brushing and flossing are essential for removing these substances from your teeth and helping to prevent gum disease and other issues. If you smoke, however, the plaque is stickier, allowing it to more easily collect bacteria. Additionally, smoking interferes with your immune system, impacting its ability to effectively fight off infections.
When gum disease develops, your risk for implant failure increases drastically, especially if the condition goes untreated. Bacteria irritate your gums, leading to inflammation and the development of periodontal pockets. Bacteria collect in these pockets and begin to attack your jawbone, causing it to grow weak. This can cause your implants to become unstable and fail, even years after your implants have been successfully placed.
When you smoke, your jawbone is weaker, which can affect the ability of the bone to fuse with the posts. This is because smoking causes the bone to become inflamed. Inflamed bone, or peri-implantitis, is the leading cause of implant failure.
How Can I Reduce My Risk of Implant Failure?While implants are typically a very successful treatment, smoking can significantly increase your likelihood of suffering implant failure. If you have any questions or concerns, do not hesitate to call Pacific Oral & Facial Surgery Center at 925-290-7727 today.