I’m a Smoker! Can I Still Have Dental Implants?
There is much confusion surrounding smoking and dental implants with many believing that just because they’re a smoker, then they’re not eligible for dental implants. In Richmond here at Sheen Dental we tell our potential clients that whilst smoking can be problematic for those wishing to undertake the procedure, it doesn’t necessarily rule them out completely.
Most of us are aware that smoking can stain the teeth making them look unsightly, and poor appearance coupled with acute embarrassment is the tipping point that sways many smokers to seek implant treatment. However there are some issues which smoking throws up that may mean a more detailed treatment plan and a lengthier treatment altogether. Let’s take a look.
Evidence has shown that there is a big connection between smoking and gum disease. In fact smokers are up to 7 times more likely to suffer gum disease than non-smokers. Therefore more often than not plans will need to be put in place to treat the gum disease before implants can be fitted. This is likely to add extra cost and time onto the implantation process.
Slows down bone growth
The superiority of dental implants compared to other forms of tooth replacement is mainly attributed to the natural bone fusion process that occurs when titanium implants are placed. Otherwise known as osseointegration it remains an integral part of the process. The issue is that chemicals found in smoke (thought to be nicotine) inhibit blood flow which in turn can slow down the bone growth process. To give an example, under normal circumstances a non-smoker would expect to achieve some sort of implant osseointegration in 3-6 weeks, whereas in smokers this can be as much as 12 weeks or more. While this might not be an issue in itself, this is something that both surgeon and patient need to bear in mind. In addition this vital process should also be monitored very closely as there is a chance that it may not even occur at all.
One thing that dental implants are prone to especially in the first few weeks is bacteria. Unfortunately if tobacco smoke gets into the surgical area then bacteria found in tobacco can be passed through the gum. After a while bacteria can build up and attack the implant. If left it can turn into peri-implantitis (a painful problem that can lead to implant failure). For this reason most implant specialists will strongly suggest that the person stops smoking. If this isn’t possible, then at the very least, they should stop for the duration of the healing process
Here at Sheen Dental we’ve been fitting dental implants in Richmond for a wide variety of patients throughout the years and this includes smokers. We always make sure that every one of our patients is aware of the risks involved and not just smokers. So if you want to find out more about the procedure and how it can and will enhance your life, then contact us on 020 8876 5277 or visit our website at www.sheendental.co.uk to book your free, no-obligation consultation today.