Can Smokers Get a Dental Implant?

dental implant Albuquerque, NM

Although a person who smokes can get a dental implant, not all smokers are good candidates for implants. Smoking can increase the likelihood of implant failure. The chances that an implant will succeed, however, can be improved through appropriate dental care and oral hygiene.

Oral health and the success of dental implants

For a dental implant to be successful, it is important for candidates to have healthy gums and enough bone density in their jaw so that the gum tissues can adhere to the implant and the bone fuse with the implant. It is also preferred that the implant be placed after the jawbone is fully developed, which happens after adolescence. Good oral hygiene should be maintained before and after the procedure. Some of the risk factors associated with dental implant failure include medications that cause the mouth to dry, diabetes, gum disease, smoking and immune deficiencies.

Saliva and dental health

The role of saliva in preventing gum disease and maintaining healthy teeth cannot be overstated. Saliva works as a buffer between bacteria and the tooth enamel, while the antimicrobial components of the saliva, such as the enzyme lysozyme, kill the bacteria that cause gum disease. Saliva also neutralizes acids that can damage the enamel and can repair a damaged enamel as well.

The issue with smoking

Smoking can damage the salivary glands, causing a decrease in saliva production and flow. This can make all its benefits disappear, which may trigger gum disease and cause dental implants to fail.

The nicotine in cigarettes causes the blood vessels to constrict, which in turn affects salivary gland health as well as reduces blood flow and, consequently, the supply of oxygen, nutrients and antibodies to the gums. These effects can result in periodontal or gum disease, which weakens the soft fibrous tissues that hold the implant anchored to the bone, causing the implant to fail. For smokers looking to get dental implants, it is generally recommended that smoking be stopped a week before the procedure and for two weeks after that. 

Benefits of dental implants

Dental implants can have many advantages that can make them worth the effort to pause or entirely quit smoking:

  • An implant may last up to 20 years or more with good oral hygiene and dental health.
  • It functions like a natural tooth, allowing the patient to eat a wide variety of foods.
  • It can improve speech as the implant will not slip within the mouth; thus, the patient can speak clearly without fear of the replacement tooth falling out.

Conclusion

Dental implants are a long-lasting and reliable teeth replacement option. Implants may have a life span of decades as long as patients take appropriate care of their oral health. That includes not smoking, as the implant failure rate for a smoker may be up to twice that of a nonsmoker. For those who smoke, the chances of a dental implant succeeding can improve with the help of a smoking cessation program. To further raise the chances that an implant will last a long time, see a dental professional regularly.

Are you considering dental implants in the Albuquerque area? Get more information at https://www.roderickgarciadmd.com.

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