Tooth loss is an unfortunate reality for many people. When tooth loss has occurred, it is vital to replace those teeth with a strong and durable dental restoration that will preserve the integrity and function of the smile. For most people, the most superior solution for missing teeth is dental implants.
Dental implants are surgically placed titanium screws that fuse with the jawbone to provide the ultimate level of stability to a full range of dental restorations, such as dentures, bridges, and dental crowns. Dental implants are successful for most patients, but there are cases in which osseointegration (the process of the implant fusing with the jawbone) fails to take place.
There are many factors that can lead to dental implant failure. Here we will discuss one of the most common sources of dental implant failure: smoking. Find out how our Nashville, TN patients can ensure that they reap the full benefits of dental implant treatment.
How Smoking Impacts Dental Implants
Dental implant treatment consists of a couple of minor oral surgeries. When a patient is undergoing any surgery, they are advised to refrain from smoking or using other tobacco products. Dental implant treatment is no exception. For those who smoke, it can be difficult to give up this addicting habit. However, there are real benefits to refraining from smoking in the weeks before and after dental implant treatment. Studies have shown that smoking significantly increases the risk of dental implant failure.
There are a couple of reasons why smoking affects dental implant success. The first is that smoking has been linked to bone and tissue loss. With inadequate tissues in the jaw and gums, it will be more difficult for osseointegration to occur. Dr. Newman considers the density of the jawbone when determining dental implant candidacy. If he feels the amount of tissue is insufficient to support dental implants, then the patient will need to consider undergoing a bone graft to build up the jaw, or choose an alternate treatment for missing teeth.
The second concern regarding smoking and dental implant treatment is that the nicotine in tobacco reduces blood flow in the mouth. Blood carries nutrients that are essential to the health of the jaw and gum tissues, especially following dental implant treatment. If blood flow is reduced, the mouth will heal much more slowly, which can impede the ultimate success of dental implant treatment.
Promoting Dental Implant Success
It is important that dental implant treatment is a success for patients. Dr. Newman encourages all patients to do their part to ensure that the mouth heals in a timely manner following dental implant surgery so that osseointegration takes place. The following steps can be beneficial to the success of dental implant treatment:
- Brush and floss regularly
- Keep any follow-up appointments
- Continue a routine schedule of dental exams and cleanings
- Use any prescribed antibiotics as directed
- Refrain from smoking or using tobacco products for at least three to four weeks prior to dental implant treatment and for the duration of recovery
Dental implants offer a strong, durable, and comfortable replacement for missing teeth. If you have questions about the dental implant process, or would like to learn if you are an ideal candidate for treatment, contact us at your earliest convenience.