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Does Smoking Affect Dental Implants?

The answer to this question is a resounding yes. In fact, smoking can have a negative effect on dental implants in a number of ways. The serious repercussions that can result from smoking before or after dental implant placement is the main reason why our oral surgeons instruct patients who smoke to be sure and have a plan in place that can help them quit the habit in the weeks prior to the procedure and for a long time afterward. 

Here are just a few of the ways smoking has been shown to affect dental implants: 

Risk of Implant Failure – Studies have revealed that dental implants fail at a much higher rate when the patient is a smoker vs. patients who are nonsmokers. 

Compromised Bone Tissue/Soft Tissue – Smoking can negatively impact both soft tissue and bone tissue, which can decrease the success rate for dental implants in the long-term. 

Compromised Bone Grafts – If a bone graft is required before implant placement, smoking can limit the chance that the bone graft will be successful. 

Delayed and/or Compromised Healing Ability – Smoking can cause significant effects on the healing process after implant placement, potentially creating severe complications and possibly even leading to implant failure. 

Infection – Smoking can increase the risk of bacterial infection.  

Periodontal Disease – When smoke enters the mouth, it can dramatically increase the chances of developing gum disease, which can then compromise the success of a dental implant. 

With all of this in mind, just because someone is a current smoker does not necessarily disqualify them from candidacy for dental implants. Once the initial oral evaluation is performed and it is determined that dental implants are a suitable treatment option, we will recommend that patients stop smoking for several weeks before the procedure is performed. We will also advise patients to make sure they do not smoke for a minimum of two months following implant placement; however, it is best to avoid smoking for good. 

If you are a smoker and are considering dental implants, we can talk with you about methods that have proven to successfully help individuals kick the habit, such as the nicotine patch, and answer any additional questions you may have. Contact Oral & Facial Surgeons of Arizona for more information, or to schedule an appointment.