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Smoking & Dental Implant Failure

While smoking can compromise your overall health, smoking with dental implants can also lead to implant failure. This is particularly true during the implant process.

Before your surgery, your dentist will discuss with you the risks associated with smoking and dental implant failure. Ideally, your dentist would like you to stop smoking throughout the entire dental implant process and during your recovery to optimize your healing and reduce your chances of complications. However, if you’re not able to do this, it will still be important to abstain from smoking for one week before your surgery and up to eight weeks after surgery.

Smoking and Dental Implants

There are a variety of reasons why a dental implant may fail. These include the location of the implant, the experience level of the dental surgeon, and patient-related factors such as overall health status, oral hygiene habits, quality and quantity of bone in the implant location, and smoking habits. However, research has shown that patient-related factors are the most important predictor of dental implant failure.

Studies show smoking and dental implant failure rates are between 6.5% – 20% compared to non-smokers. The reason smoking with dental implants may result in implant failure is because tobacco and nicotine cause blood vessels in the gum tissues in the mouth to constrict or narrow. This results in less blood flow to the tissues and jawbone resulting in less oxygen that is needed to keep tissues alive and promote healing. Research has also shown that smoking results in higher rates of complications after implant surgery as well including marginal bone loss (bone loss around the implant) and peri-implantitis (inflammation of the tissues around the implant).

Smoking and Gum Disease

Smoking and use of other tobacco products can also lead to gum disease because it appears to interfere with the healthy functioning of cells that make up your gum tissues. When this happens, the attachment of gum tissue and bone to your teeth becomes looser making you more susceptible to infections like periodontal disease. And because nicotine results in less blood flow to the cells of your gum tissue, wound healing is delayed, and infection is more likely to occur after implant surgery. Gum disease can also result in tooth decay and loss of bone in the mouth making it more difficult to place the implant in addition to other health issues that can affect the rest of your body.

Smoking and Infection

Smoking and dental implants are also a poor combination because smoking results in higher rates of infection in smokers compared to non-smokers. That is because smoking compromises the immune system and makes a person more susceptible to certain diseases and infections. Because nicotine causes constriction of blood vessels in the mouth, this reduces the flow of blood to the cells of the gums. Blood carries white blood cells and other components important in fighting infection. When there is inadequate blood flow to the implant site and the tissues around it, the white blood cells of your immune system cannot get to the site of infection to fight it. This may result in a local infection around the implant that is less likely to heal and may lead to a more widespread infection in the mouth which can spread to the rest of the body.

Smoking and Oral Surgery

Other risks associated with smoking and oral surgery include the risk of small clots forming in the blood vessels around the tissue that is healing. This prevents blood flow to the surgical site in the mouth slowing healing and may result in a greater risk of infection. Smoking is also associated with higher rates of a condition known as dry socket. This is a painful condition that occurs when a tooth is extracted, and a blood clot fails to form over the empty tooth socket or the blood clot is dislodged exposing nerves and bone tissue causing intense pain.

Dental implants are a valuable investment that can reward you for many years to come. However, smoking with dental implants puts your health and your investment at risk.

Do you have questions about your implants, or the effect smoking has had on your oral health? If so, Peak OMS offers the services you need. To set up an appointment, contact Denver’s trusted oral surgeon.

Sources List:;year=2008;volume=19;issue=4;spage=344;epage=348;aulast=Balaji

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