If you smoke but need to replace a missing tooth, the most natural dental prosthesis for the restoration is a dental implant. Not only is the crown of the implant barely discernible from the crown of a natural tooth, the implant screw is secured in your jawbone as the root of a natural tooth would be. After the screw of an implant is placed, it undergoes a fusion process called "osseointegration," in which your jawbone fuses with the metal screw.
Most dental implants are successful. However, studies indicate that people who smoke have an implant failure rate that is higher than that of nonsmokers. One study shows that overall, tobacco use increases the risk of failure by over 15 percent. However when a study participant smoked more than 20 cigarettes daily, the risk of failure rose to 30.8 percent.
Another study compared the success rate among three categories of people: those who smoke, nonsmokers and those who quit smoking. The failure rate among nonsmokers and people who quit showed no significant statistical difference. Thus, even if you are currently a smoker, you can lower chance of experiencing implant failure by quitting. Here are two risk factors that may be eliminated when you quit smoking:
Poor Wound Healing
By limiting the blood flow to the wound site and depriving the wound of adequate oxygen, smoking interferes with the body's ability to heal itself. In addition, smoking can inflame the soft tissues of your mouth to delay proper wound healing at the implant site. If your implant site does not heal properly or quickly, your chance of infection increases, and your dental implant may not be successful. If you are a smoker, quit long before having your dental implant placed.
Smoking is one of the greatest risk factors associated with periodontal disease, and people who have periodontal disease have a higher risk of implant failure. In addition, smoking seems to make the treatment of periodontal disease less successful.
Smoking is a controllable factor that influences whether or not your implant will be successful. If you are a smokier and you would like to have a missing tooth restored through implant therapy, be sure to discuss your smoking habits with your dentist. He or she will be able to advise you of whether or not the placement of a dental implant is a wise decision for you at this time. In addition, try to quit smoking. Once you quit, your chance of a successful implant increases. Contact a dentist (such as one from Eden Prairie Dental Care) today to discuss your dental implant options.