Smoking and the Effects on Dental Implants
Everyone knows the effects that smoking has on a person. It can cause a variety of health problems as well as (in some cases) fatal diseases. However you may or may not know that as a smoker, if you are considering treatment for a dental implant in Richmond or anywhere else in the country then you run a very high risk of implant failure So much so in fact that some dentists will refuse to fit implants to someone who smokes. So why is this?
Slows down bone regeneration
Over the years tests have shown that there are certain substances in tobacco smoke, namely nicotine, that greatly affect, or at the very least slow down, the rate of bone recovery or regeneration. Bone regeneration is imperative to the success of the implantation procedure because of something known as osseointegration. This is the process whereby bone tissue located within the jaw fuses with the titanium implant which is fastened into it. In someone who doesn’t smoke and has good oral health this generally happens over a period of 1-3 months after implantation. However in a heavy smoker this may take considerably longer or worse still, not happen at all.
Weakens the bone
Just as smoking slows down the bone regeneration process it can in some instances also weaken it. By their very nature dental implants need to be strong and durable to withstand the pressure of everyday biting and chewing and this means being implanted into healthy and sufficient bone mass. If the bone surrounding the implant isn’t healthy or there simply isn’t enough of it, then it can because the implants to weaken become loose and eventually fail.
One option is to undertake a bone graft. This is a procedure whereby healthy bone taken from either the patient in question, or in some cases a bone bank, is implanted onto the designated area. The idea is that over time it regenerates and merges with the existing or weakened bone, thus generating a healthy platform upon which to attach the implant. However as already mentioned, smoking has a detrimental effect on the bone regeneration process, so there’s a very good chance that the bone graft won’t take properly.
So what’s the alternative?
If you’re a smoker and you want to undergo treatment for dental implants in Richmond or anywhere else in the country then ideally you need to be giving up your habit. However here at Sheen Dental we’re realistic about this and we would suggest that if a person can’t refrain from smoking altogether, then at the very least they need to be giving up a couple of weeks before they undergo treatment, and certainly throughout the whole of their recovery period (this may take up to six months). If they can manage this then there’s a chance that an implant may prove successful.
There is however a caveat to this in that it may well solve a short term problem but the reality is that a healthy implant can be for life and if you take up smoking again after the recovery period has proven to be successful, then you again run the risk of weakening the bone surrounding the implant, causing it to fail.
If you would like more information on smoking and how it affects the implantation process then contact Sheen Dental. We’ve been successfully fitting dental implants in Richmond for many years and as such will be able to advise you on the best course of action. Contact us and book your free consultation on 020 8876 5277 or visit our website at www.sheendental.co.uk today.