Whether it’s one or several, tooth loss can be devastating. Dental implants are quickly becoming one of the most desirable treatments for restoring smiles permanently and effectively. But having dental implants placed isn’t always the best treatment option for everyone, especially habitual smokers.
Cosmetic dentists like Nashville’s Clint Newman, DDS, often have to warn patients about the dangers of dental implants and smoking. Many patients are surprised to learn that there is a correlation between smoking and successful dental implant placement.
How Do Dental Implants Work?
The world of restorative and cosmetic dentistry has made major strides and advancements over the decades, with even dramatic procedures like porcelain veneers able to be completed within one to two sittings. Still, some procedures remain relatively complex in nature. With several steps and a clear amount of time needed for recovery between them, dental implants are just such a procedure.
After an initial assessment, if your cosmetic dentist has determined that dental implants are right for you, the procedure most often begins with the surgical placement of one or more titanium posts directly into the jawbone. These posts form the basis of the implant itself.
Placement of the implants is followed by a period of healing, where the jawbone works to rebuild and graft itself around the implants in a process known as osseointegration. This period can take as long as six months, and is necessary for creating the strongest base possible. During this period, you will likely wear a temporary crown or bridge over the healing implants.
Once your cosmetic dentist is satisfied that the dental implants have successfully integrated, only then can he attach abutment fixtures and then a permanent dental crown or bridge to the posts.
The Dangers of Smoking with Dental Implants
When determining your qualification for dental implant surgery, one of the first things your cosmetic dentist will ask you is if you smoke - if you do smoke normally, you will be asked whether you will be able to quit. But why is this so important?
- A Hindrance to Healing: Inhaling cigarette smoke deprives the blood of oxygen, and when sufficient oxygen is not able to travel through the bloodstream, it can seriously impede your body’s ability to heal efficiently. This can critically disrupt the healing and osseointegration process, and can even cause implants to be rejected.
- An Invitation to Infection: Cigarette smoke can also be an irritant, causing healing gums around a newly placed dental implant to become inflamed. In some cases, this irritation and injury can even lead to infection, which can also cause rejection of the dental implants.
Smoking after the placement of dental implants can easily turn the process into an expensive waste of time, as implants fail to integrate and you are left at square one. If it is difficult for you to give up smoking, your dentist can recommend an alternate plan such as a dental bridge.
Contact Your Dental Implant Specialist Today
Dental implants can be both a functional and a beautiful remedy to lost or broken teeth and a number of other dental and orthodontic issues. But for the best possible results, special care must be taken to ensure that your dental implants have every chance to bond and heal.
Your cosmetic dentist can help you take those precautions and guide you toward a happier and healthier smile. Contact the cosmetic dentistry office of Dr. Clint Newman, DDS, to schedule an appointment and learn more about the details of dental implants for a more beautiful smile today.