Smoking cigarettes is a damaging habit that can endanger your health. Many Stop-Smoking campaigns exist to help people who want to drop this addictive habit. Not only does smoking cigarettes damage the health of your whole body, but it can also cause problems in your mouth. People with dental implants should be especially wary. Smoking can delay healing and increase the risk of infection and premature implant failure.
Evidence Suggests Smoking May Cause Premature Failure
Smoking has a history of complicating and exacerbating many medical conditions and surgeries. A number of studies have been conducted to find whether or not this also applies to the health of dental implants. Many of these studies were inconclusive, pending future studies to eliminate other risk factors such as preexisting gum disease unrelated to the smoking itself.
A multi-study review published in 2015 compared the results of several studies to see if the combined data could shed any light on the issue. Combined, these studies included 19,836 implants placed in smokers, and 60,464 placed in non-smokers. The review found that 6.5% of the implants placed in smokers failed prematurely. Only 3.18% of the implants in non-smokers failed prematurely. The collected data is not conclusive because the studies did not eliminate for other factors, but evidence suggests that implants in smokers have a higher premature failure rate than in non-smokers.
Smoking and Your Immune System
Although future research is needed to conclusively say whether or not smoking can lead to the premature failure of dental implants, this habit can complicate the healing process. People who smoke heal more slowly than those who do not. Cigarettes impact the way that nutrients are transported to healing areas. Your blood transports the nutrients and minerals necessary for healing wounds. Nicotine causes blood vessels to tighten, preventing your body from effectively moving nutrients to wounds and areas of damaged tissue.
Smoking also harms the immune system. The tar and other chemicals in cigarettes slow down your immune system, making it less effective at fighting off disease and infection. With your healing speed already significantly slower than normal, you could be at a much higher risk for developing an infection around the implant. Infections may result in painful inflammation, loss of gum or bone tissue, and loss of the implant.
Dental implants can be used to replace badly damaged or missing teeth. Before receiving an implant, you will be evaluated to make sure that you are a good candidate. Your oral and physical health can play a big role in how your implant heals and how you need to care for it.
If you would like to find out whether or not you are a good candidate for dental implants, please call 851-8274 for an appointment at Corpus Christi Center for Cosmetic Dentistry.