Today’s dental implants are a dependable tooth replacement treatment that can accommodate the preferences and needs of various patients. With a success rate of up to 98%, dental implants can last a lifetime and are suitable for many age groups. However, studies show that tobacco use can increase a patient’s chances of experiencing dental implant failure.
Factors for successful dental implants
Recent studies revealed that age is not a deciding factor in implant success and that the success rate is the same for both younger and older recipients. Factors that improve the success rate of dental implants at any age include having healthy gums, sufficient jawbone to support implants and a commitment from patients to continue good oral hygiene including regular dental visits.
Detrimental effects of smoking on oral health
Researchers have discovered that smokers have more tartar on their teeth than non-smokers and this accumulation of oral bacteria can weaken gums and lower the chances of successful integration of dental implants. Studies show that smokers are 3-6 times more likely to suffer gum disease than those who don’t smoke because smoking decreased saliva production and dries out oral tissues. The constricted blood flow and reduced saliva caused by smoking means there’s less redness and gum bleeding, which can give patients a false perception of healthy gums. Smoking appears to interfere with the body’s natural ability to fight disease and heal and affects the way gum tissue responds to dental treatments. Due to these issues, smoking slows the healing process and lowers the effectiveness of dental treatments.
Smoking and tooth loss
In the five years following treatment for gum disease, smokers are twice as likely to lose teeth when compared to nonsmokers. Oral surgery treatments including dental implants have a higher failure rate in smokers due to inhibited healing. It isn’t just cigarettes that cause these types of oral health issues in patients. People who smoke pipes or cigars and those who use smokeless tobacco experience the same complications and increased potential for dental implant failure. The rate of tooth loss in pipe smokers is the same as those who smoke cigarettes.
Reducing the risk of dental implant failure
For patients who want to quit smoke and those who are trying to stop, a recent study by the Surgeon General reports that people who quit smoking 11 years earlier had almost the same rate of gum disease as people who never smoked. Patients can improve their oral health by reducing their tobacco use, but the best solution is to quit smoking altogether. Dental implants are designed to be successful in patients of all ages, but patients who smoke need to realize that they have a higher risk of dental implant failure.
If you’re considering dental implants, contact Greater Baltimore Prosthodontics for a thorough evaluation of your oral health and to see what tooth replacement options can work best for you.