If you’re a smoker, it can affect your dental treatment, especially if you need higher-end procedures like dental implants. Read on to find out everything you need to know, including answers to the most common questions we get from smoking clients at Aria Dental.
How does smoking affect dental treatments?
There is no doubt that smoking negatively affects your health, including your oral health. Smokers tend to have:
- increased plaque accumulation (which leads to gum disease).
- higher rates of tooth loss and decay.
- a higher need for higher-end dental treatment (such as dental implants)
- a lower success rate for higher-end dental treatments.
- an increased risk of complications for higher-end dental treatments.
Dental implants for smokers
A dental implant is an artificial replacement for a tooth or teeth. Dental implants are an alternative to dentures, and they can be necessary when teeth are lost or damaged. The implants are surgically attached to your jawbone, unlike dentures which can be easily removed.
The best candidates for dental implants have healthy gums to help hold their implants in place. Unfortunately, smokers have a higher risk of gum disease than non-smokers, and therefore they generally have less healthy gums. This makes some smokers unsuitable for dental implant procedures because their gums and jawbones simply aren’t healthy enough to support them. Ironically, smoking causes many dental problems and also hinders or prevents their successful treatment.
However, if you’re currently a smoker, your risk of gum disease can be reduced somewhat if you have regular dental check-ups and you otherwise practise good oral hygiene. The risk can obviously be further reduced if you quit smoking altogether. Quitting is the best option for both your oral and overall health.
If you are (or have been) a smoker and you have lost or damaged teeth, a dental implant specialist (called a prosthodontist) will be able to assess whether you are a suitable candidate for a dental implant.
If you are suitable and you still smoke, try to quit before your dental implant procedure. If you can’t, at the very least you should avoid smoking for at least two weeks before and after your surgery.
It’s important to be aware that you may experience increased pain and slower healing after dental implant surgery if you are (or have recently been) a smoker. This is especially the case if you need to have a tooth (or teeth) removed as part of your procedure.
Can I smoke after a dental implant?
Continuing to smoke after a dental implant is not recommended for several reasons:
1) it can increase the risk of implant failure, especially if you need to undergo a bone graft to secure your dental implants as part of your procedure.
2) smoking after you’ve had your dental implant can lead to painful inflammation around your implants. It can also lead to reduced blood flow which hinders the implant from fusing with your jawbone. Again, this increases the risk of a failed dental implant procedure.
3) smoking reduces the ability of your immune system to fight infections. You will therefore continue to be at a higher risk of developing gum disease and bone deterioration than non-smokers. If either of these things happen, your risk of dental implant failure will increase.
4) smoking can increase the risk of you developing other more serious oral health issues such as mouth cancer.
If you can’t quit smoking altogether after your dental implant, at least try and reduce the amount you smoke to help improve both your oral and overall health. You should also be even more meticulous about your dental hygiene than a non-smoker. Make sure that you:
- brush your teeth every morning and night.
- use dental floss at least once every day.
- have regular dental check-ups.
- avoid having a dry mouth (as this encourages gum disease).
Doing all of these things will increase your chances of your dental implant procedure being a success. It will also reduce your risk of developing any other dental problems.
How we can help you?
Dental implant surgery is one of our specialist services at Aria Dental in Perth. We also provide ‘before and after’ advice and care. If you’re a smoker, we can assess your suitability for dental implant treatment.
In addition to our high quality dental implant service, we also specialise in:
- cosmetic dentistry (including Invisalign treatment)
- high-end denture procedures
- options for missing teeth, and
- dental implant travel packages
Contact us at our Hay Street clinic in the Perth CBD to find out more about your dental needs.