Robertson and Orchard, DDS

Cause of Dental Implant Failure: Smoking

By N. Perry Orchard on February 25, 2019

Digital image of crown being placed on dental implant and abutmentDental implants are one of the most reliable teeth replacement treatments available today. With success rates as high as 98 percent, they are widely considered the most optimal choice among dentists and patients alike. Even so, there are limitations regarding their longevity and success.

For example, tobacco use can significantly hinder healing and ultimately affect the health of your implant. Here, our Corpus Christi, TX team explores a common cause of dental implant failure: smoking.

How Smoking Affects Oral Health

It is no surprise that tobacco use is considered bad for your health. However, many individuals do not realize the direct effect that smoking has on the teeth and gums.

Smoking can result in:

  • Bad breath
  • Gum disease
  • Tooth loss
  • Increased accumulation of plaque and tartar
  • Increased risk of oral cancer
  • Reduced blood flow to the oral soft tissues
  • Delayed healing after oral surgery
  • Loss of taste and smell

How Smoking Affects Healing

Tobacco use leads to a lack of oxygen in the bloodstream. As a result, the body’s capacity to heal is stunted. Therefore, those who undergo any type of oral surgery, including dental implant placement, have a much more difficult time recovering from the procedure.

Smoking and Dental Implants

A 2012 research study found that the dental implant failure rate in smokers was higher than that of non-smokers; additionally, failure was directly proportional to the amount of tobacco use. This study also reports that:

  • Bone loss and peri-implantitis (gum disease around an implant) are far more likely in smokers compared to non-smokers following implant placement.
  • Dental implants placed in the maxillary jaw following a sinus lift were twice as likely to fail in smokers compared to non-smokers.
  • Smokers are more likely to suffer implant failure in the upper jaw compared to the lower jaw.
  • Smokers are more prone to implant failure following second-stage surgery.

Can Smokers Be Considered for Dental Implant Surgery?

In short, yes. Though tobacco use has been proven to interfere with healing after dental implant surgery, some patients can still qualify for treatment.

First, it is important to understand the risks. Smoking can significantly increase the risk for complications and reduce the success rate of your implants. Second, patients will be advised to cease tobacco use at least one week before their surgery, and continue abstinence for at least two months after implant placement. This is essential, as bone healing is absolutely critical for the long-term success of your implants.

During a consultation at our practice, your doctor will review your medical history in detail, including smoking habits. In addition to the present status of smoking, duration and intensity will be discussed as well. This information will allow your doctor to make an informed decision regarding your treatment plan.

Contact Our Practice Today

If you smoke and are considering dental implants, it is important to fully comprehend the risks involved. Our team can help determine your candidacy for implant placement, and can give you to tools you need to succeed. To learn more, contact us at (361) 992-3011.

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Corpus Christi Office

6421 Saratoga Blvd
Ste 102
Corpus Christi, TX 78414

Open Today 7:30am - 6:00pm

More Info Directions (361) 992-3011