Dental implant success rates have risen in the past few years as advances have been made. Despite these advances, however, implant failure is still present. Studies have shown that most patients who smoke have higher rates of implant complications than non-smokers. Other common problems for avid smokers are outlined below, as well as tips for what you can do to decrease the likelihood of experiencing implant problems.
Complications During Surgery
The first concern your dentist has is related to the surgery. If you are unable to quit smoking at least 2 weeks before implant surgery, you should consider alternatives to implants – such as fixed or removable bridges and dentures. Smoking cigarettes increases the risk of inflammation during surgery. Combine that with the natural effects of anesthesia, and you are at high risk of cardiac arrest or heart attack during surgery. It is likely you will experience more pain immediately following surgery, as well.
Delayed Healing After Surgery
Not only are your pain levels higher following surgery, but the healing process lengthens if you continue smoking. Open wounds are more likely to become infected. And in the oral cavity, bacteria is already thriving. If you are able to discontinue smoking (even if it’s temporary, just long enough for the surgery and recovery), the bacteria will have less effect on the implant sites.
Possible Implant Complications
Implant surgery was probably successful if you were able to quit smoking for the duration of it. And there seem to be little short-term instances of complications related to smoking. But if you pick up on the habit again, you should be aware that long-term complications can arise. Among these difficulties are continued bone loss and peri-implantitis (infection around the implant). While slow to develop in most patients, you are at higher risk if you pick up on smoking after implant treatment.
Likelihood Of Implant Failure
As complications increase, you run the risk of higher implant failure. Implant failure for non-smokers is roughly 2% while implant failure in smokers is estimated between 5% and 6%. While these numbers may seem low in comparison with the many thousands of patients who undergo dental implants, keep in mind that implant failure is 2 to 3 times higher in smokers than in non-smokers.
Continued Oral Health Problems
Dental implants make your teeth look healthier and they won’t ever develop cavities. They are designed to preserve jaw tissue and are considered the most durable and natural-feeling prosthetic teeth available. Despite these great benefits, however, they don’t eliminate your ability to experience oral problems. Your other teeth can still get cavities, and bacteria in your mouth can still cause disease. Smokers are more likely to develop gum disease and oral cancers (primarily found in the jawbone and throat) than non-smokers. Treating these problems could result in failed implants because jaw tissue recedes, resulting in the removal of the implant rods.
What You Can Do To Decrease Implant Complications
Just because you smoke, it doesn’t mean you can’t get implants. The best way to ensure that the implants are successful both short- and long-term, however, is to minimize or quit smoking. There are dental clinics who specialize in treating smoking patients. These dentists can recognize early indicators of complications and will know how to approach their treatment. They also develop programs to help you discontinue smoking so you can have the best treatment.
While implant success rates are the highest they’ve ever been, there are still risk factors that result in failed implants. Smoking during implant treatment is a main cause for complications and failure. However, if you can quit for even a few weeks, surgery and follow-up treatment should go smoothly. Quitting completely will yield the best long-term implant results. For more information, contact a specialist like Advanced Dental Techniques.Read More