You already know that smoking can lead to lung
Yet smoking also can lead to a great variety
of oral health issues, several of them serious: yellow and stained teeth, periodontal
disease, tissue and bone loss, loss of teeth, peri-implantitis (a destructive,
inflammatory process affecting the tissue that surrounds a dental implant), dental
implant failure, and more.
In fact, most dentists recommend that smokers
looking to get dental implants quit smoking before undergoing the procedure!
“But,” you may be wondering, “the smoke goes
in my lungs; it doesn’t lie on my teeth. Why does it affect my teeth/mouth?”
The smoke you inhale – or the tobacco you chew
– can change the type of bacteria that lives in dental plaque (all of us have
plaque to one degree or another) and increase the amount of harmful bacteria.
Smoking also reduces the blood flow to your gums as well as to the tissue that
supports your teeth, making the tissue more likely to become inflamed, possibly
loosening the tissue around your teeth, resulting in loose teeth, or even tooth
Gum disease in smokers also worsens more
quickly than in non-smokers. What’s more, smokers may not see the tell-tale
symptoms of gum disease (bleeding gums) as quickly as non-smokers due to the
decreased blood flow. They therefore may not go to a dentist as early for
treatment, allowing the disease to continue longer and do more damage.
If you want to get dental implants, it’s critical
that you stop smoking.
As for dental implants, because smoking
decreases blood flow to the bone and tissues that surround your teeth, your
bone doesn’t heal as well following the implant surgery. Smoking also can mean
the implant will fail because it will not integrate with the surrounding bone
A 2007 study by a university in Spain found that about 15 percent of dental implants performed on
smokers failed while the failure rate of implants on non-smokers was just a bit
more than 1 percent.
Still, while the study found that about 85
percent of smokers’ dental implants did not
fail, your dentist may still consider it too high a risk, considering the cost
of the procedure and the greater risk of inflammation and even infection
It’s something of a Catch 22, isn’t it? You
smoke and that destroys your teeth or causes tooth loss, so you decide you need
dental implants to replace the damaged or lost teeth. But you smoke, so your
dentist says he can’t provide you with dental implants.
Still, if you and/or your dentist have noticed
considerable bone loss, tissue inflammation, and so on, you really must decide to quit smoking. Your
doctor or dentist can help you with advice and even smoking cessation aids.
Then, if your teeth are truly in bad shape and
you’d like dental implants, your dentist will be able to perform the procedure
with a much higher chance of success.
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