Can You Get Dental Implants if You Smoke?

Dental Implants San Diego

If you need to replace missing or cracked teeth, dental implants in San Diego are the way to go. Dental implants generally take the form of specialized titanium screws implanted directly into the jawbone. These make the perfect platform for anchoring artificial teeth.

For people with severe tooth decay or other serious tooth damage, dental implants are the ideal – and sometimes the only – option. But there is one catch: Smoking. Smoking can delay the jaw’s healing after implantation, making the whole process longer and more complicated.

Does that mean smokers can’t get dental implants? Not necessarily.

Understanding Smoking’s Effects on Dental and Oral Health

Dentists have known for a long time that smoking can harm dental health. Smokers have a much higher risk of oral cancer than the rest of the population. However, most of smoking’s impact on the mouth is much more subtle. Smokers may not recognize the signs until they become severe.

Some of the major symptoms include:

Restricted Blood Flow to the Soft Tissues

Healthy gum tissue is essential in maintaining the strength of teeth. In fact, some dentists think that the daily “massage” gums get from brushing is just as important as removing biofilm from tooth surfaces. Restricted blood flow can contribute to periodontal disease.

Damage to the Salivary Glands

When bacteria attack the mouth after eating, saliva is one of the most effective deterrents there is. When the mouth is exposed to hot smoke, the salivary glands become less efficient. This makes it easier for tooth decay to occur and makes brushing even more vital.

Increased Risk of Implant Failure

The odds of your dental implants failing are low, even if you do smoke. Still, it’s important to recognize the risk. Less than 10% of dental implants ever have issues; most will last for life. But smoking lengthens the process and elevates the risks. That includes the possibility that, due to reduced healing and immune activity, healing will take a long time or won’t be perfect.

How to Reduce Smoking’s Impact on Implants

In an ideal world, it would be possible for every smoker to quit smoking if he or she wants to – especially before an implant procedure. In practice, abstaining from smoking for a few weeks before and after implantation is a good compromise.

If this isn’t possible, it’s still a good idea to cut back on smoking as much as you can!

Soft Touch Dental

Soft Touch Dental is dedicated to safe, effective dental implants for all our patients who need them. Contact us today to consult with Dr. Fakhimi about your needs – he’ll be glad to advise you on smoking cessation or other changes you can make so your dental implant procedure will be a success.