Smoking can take a toll on your dental implantsSmoking is the one the worst habits as far as it concerns your dental wellbeing. It can cause bad breath, severe tooth discoloration, and it can slow your body’s healing process. Smoking can also raise the likelihood of dangerous oral diseases, including tooth decay, gum disease, leukoplakia, and oral cancer. For those of us who are missing teeth and are looking into dental implants, smoking can also increase the chance that the implant will fail to integrate with the jawbone. These are all reasons, out of many, many more, for why you should consider quitting the habit.

How Smoking Can Ruin Your Dental Implants

The dental implant process consists of placing the implant fixture along the jawbone, after which you enter a three to six month healing period. As the implant site is healing, the fixture is assimilated by the jaw through osseointegration and, if accomplished successful, it will become a permanent feature of your oral anatomy. In a small minority of cases, the integration of the implant can be undermined by the inflammation of the tissue around the fixture. This is known as peri-implantitis, and leads to the rejection of the dental implant. While peri-implantitis can happen to any patient, it is much more common amongst smokers.

Smoking can slow the circulation of blood in your body, making it much more difficult for your body to heal itself. Nicotine can also affect and damage the various tissues that make up your jaw, teeth, gums, and facial muscles. In fact, smoking increases the risk for further tooth loss, meaning the habit may only end up costing you more money down the road. Another oral problem associated with the habit is the possibility for an increased rate of bone loss, an issue already aggravated by tooth loss.

The loss of bone in the jaw can lead to facial deformation, or a sunken facial appearance, and the premature wrinkling of the skin around the jawbone. It’s also important to keep in mind that healthy bone is absolutely crucial for the implant process. Before the fixture is even inserted into the mouth, we dentists have to comprehensively inspect your teeth and jaw to make sure the planned implant location has enough bone density to properly integrate with the titanium tooth root. It goes without needing mention that anything that threatens the viability of the jawbone also threatens the success of the dental implant.

According to much of the scientific literature — where we dentists publish our scientific findings —, smokers are twice as likely to suffer from implant failure as non-smokers (Baig and Rajan [2007]). Because of the increased dangers to those who smoke cigarettes, many implant dentists simply refuse to treat smokers outright. While implant dentist Dr. Lockwood, at our La Jolla, San Diego, office, has been successful with patients who smoke, he still highly recommends that if you are considering implants that you build the mental fortitude to quit smoking.

Our La Jolla Practice Puts Your Health First

Do you suffer from tooth loss, but smoke? Dental implants are the leading solution to tooth loss, but a bad habit like smoking can do a lot of harm and can put certain treatments out of reach. While Dr. Lockwood has been successful in providing tooth implants to patients with the habit, it is nevertheless a much wiser decision to quit smoking while treating your missing teeth with dental implants. If you would like more information on how nicotine affects your dental health, contact our welcoming staff with any questions or concerns you may have: 858-200-7248.