Smoking & Dental Implant Risks
Dallas Metro Area
At Bite Lock, we provide dental implants as a solution for tooth loss. Dental implants are one of the most popular options available. While they require a surgical procedure to place small titanium rods into your jawbone, they come with numerous benefits. They provide a permanent solution to tooth loss, with your replacement teeth being affixed in place with screws. They are more comfortable than traditional dentures, your teeth being supported by the implants rather than your gums. Moreover, the implants mimic your tooth roots, helping to preserve the integrity of your jawbone. Implants are 98% effective.
When it comes to getting dental implants, it is important to know what could go wrong so that we can prepare for any situation. Dr. Pedro Franco here at BiteLock will take great care of you, but there are always risks with any surgery. This is a very safe and predictable operation, but knowing is always best. Smoking can greatly increase your risk of implant failure. If you aren't sure if you are a candidate for dental implants or if you have any concerns about your upcoming procedure, please be sure to ask us so that we can calm your apprehension as best we can.
If you have missing teeth, you know how damaging it can be, both for your oral health and for your confidence. Your gums can get irritated or infected, you could experience bone loss, or your other teeth may decay or shift to try and fill in that gap. We can’t let that happen. A dental implant solves all of these problems at the same time. This is a small titanium post that we can install directly into your jawbone, leading to a filled gap and safer teeth, gums, and bone. This provides a stable base for any false tooth you may need and can last a lifetime.
What Could Go Wrong?
While it is true that this is a very safe procedure, any operation has its risks. We take steps, though, to prevent potential problems from occurring. For example, one of the potential issues we could face is an infection where the implant was inserted. For this reason, we give our patients antibiotics to take with them while undergoing the recovery process. This helps to rid your mouth and body of the potentially harmful bacteria that can collect around the open wound, potentially causing infection or the eventual rejection of the implant. Because it is an operation and we are disturbing the area where the implant must be placed, there is the potential for injuries or damages being sustained at the entry point. This could include damage to the nerves or the blood vessels in the area. We take every possible precaution against this during your surgery.
There is also the risk of general nerve damage, not isolated in the area of the procedure. If something were to go wrong, a patient could experience numb or tingling lips, tongue, or cheeks. It could also cause painful, sensitive, or tingling teeth throughout their mouth as well. However, like we do to prevent damage in the area, we are just as careful while in your mouth to prevent widespread issues as well. Finally, there is a slight chance that there could be some sinus damage. If we are installing an implant into the upper jaw, there is an ever so slight risk of it protruding through a sinus cavity. However, this is the reason behind all of the in-depth scans and x-rays ahead of time, so we know exactly where the implants need to go to eliminate the chance of it going out of the bone.
Smoking Causes Slower Recovery
Cigarettes contain hundreds of chemicals. Inhaling these chemicals limits the amount of oxygen available in your blood. Smoking also restricts your blood flow. The carbon monoxide you breathe in causes fat to build up on the walls of your arteries, making it more difficult for blood to flow as it should. Both of these factors make your recovery slower. Your jawbone and your gums are deprived of valuable nutrients required for proper healing. Slower healing increases your risk for infection and implant failure.
Interference with Medication
After your implant surgery, we may prescribe you some antibiotics, which will help to stave off any infection while you heal. Smoking, however, can often interfere with these medications, reducing their effectiveness.
Increased Risk for Gum Disease
Gum disease is a serious oral health issue, and it can still affect you even if all of your teeth have been replaced by implants. Your immune system is essential for fighting off the harmful oral bacteria that cause gum disease. When you smoke, your body’s ability to fight infection is impacted. Those who smoke also don’t often practice proper oral hygiene, which means there is an excess buildup of plaque and bacteria, both contributing factors to gum disease.
Smoking can also lead to dry socket. Dry socket is a condition in which the clots at your surgical sites become dislodged. The suction created from inhaling can cause them to loosen. The open space is then susceptible to food, bacteria and other debris, all of which can lead to significant pain, infection, and implant failure.
Implants rely on a process known as osseointegration. This is the process in which your jawbone fuses to the implants, creating a strong, stable support for your new teeth. Smoking can weaken your jawbone, making it harder for the bone to fuse. This is because smoking inflames not only your soft tissues but your bones as well, a condition known as peri-implantitis. Peri-implantitis is the leading cause of implant failure.
What Can You Do?
Quitting smoking can greatly increase your chances of implant success. It is recommended that you quit for a period before your surgery, as well as during recovery if you do not quit for good. Proper oral hygiene practices can also help to keep your mouth healthy and reduce your risk of failure. This includes regular brushing, flossing, and dental visits.
If you are expecting to get an implant shortly, do not fret. Here at BiteLock, Dr. Pedro Franco has years of experience. He is very capable and knowledgeable, and we can make sure your experience goes off without a hitch, and you are pleased with your results. Please call us today so we can address any potential concerns you may have.
If you are interested in dental implants, call Bite Lock today at (972) 594-7414 to schedule your consultation.