Dental Implants for Smokers

Many patients, who smoke, may find it difficult to find a dentist to willingly fit them with dental implants. Here at our Edinburgh practice we offer a huge variety of patients a number of treatments and are keen to help smokers.

Current research suggests that smoking does not always stop you being able to have successful dental implant treatment but there are potential risks involved. However, this is also the case for non-smokers and those undergoing other treatments so all is not negative.

Many issues have been raised by dentists as to whether or not smokers should be provided with dental implants. The general guideline suggests that patients who smoke should quit the habit at least two months before receiving the implants.

However, patients who have smoked for a number of years may find this difficult and so are advised to cease smoking during the implant healing process. One of our highly-trained dentists will analyse each and every patient before providing them with any treatment. If at any time our patients aren’t suitable for implant treatment they will be recommended a more suitable alternative.

What are the benefits of dental implants

Dental implants are an advanced form of tooth restoration, which have been known to last a lifetime and vastly improve the functionality of the mouth.

Designed using small titanium rods, the implants are placed directly into the patients jawbone, through the gum tissue. The implants are left to heal for a period of around six months, in which the osseointegration or ‘fusing’ process can occur. Following the healing period, a restoration such as a crown or denture is attached to the rod, which then acts as a natural tooth.

Benefits of dental implants include:

  • Increased mouth functionality
  • Increased denture stabilisation
  • Chances of periodontal disease is decreased
  • Replacement of missing teeth
  • Improvement in smiles overall appearance

How does smoking affect the healing process?

Heavy smokers are advised against receiving dental implants at our practice, unless they stop months before the procedure and refrain from smoking during the healing process. This is because the carbon monoxide and various carcinogens found within cigarettes severely impact not only dental health but general health too.

Carbon monoxide, which presents itself as the smoke, not only increases the risk of infection in the mouth but also increases the likelihood of the implant being unable to fuse with the jawbone.

Furthermore, nicotine slows down blood flow in the mouth and increases the risk of a thinning jawbone. This dramatically decreases the success of the healing process.

Possible complications:

All forms of minor surgery carry possible complications, but it is how the patient manages their health which can minimise these risks.

Potential risks for smokers, include:

  • Impaired healing of the gums and bone
  • Increased risks of periodontal disease
  • Increased chances of implant failure
  • Lowered chances of bone/implant integration.

It is advised that anyone opting for dental implants should maintain a good level of oral hygiene in order to reduce the chances of failure. Smokers in particular should try to limit their nicotine intake, even if they plan on using other methods such as patches and electronic cigarettes for example.

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