Can I have implants placed if I smoke?

We all know how bad smoking is for your health, it increases the risk of developing everything from lung cancer to heart disease. Healthcare professionals will always advise you to stop smoking. If you do or don’t, this is your call at the end of the day. 

Just a little recap on the effects smoking has on your dental health:

  • • Causes gum disease
  • • Damages bone structure
  • • Bad breath and stains the teeth

As I say, you are aware of the facts relating to smoking. An implant is possible even if you do smoke, however, if you need a bone or gum graft in addition to your implant, this may not be possible.

Something else you need to consider is that unless you quit for good, smoking will continue to increase the risk of periodontal infections and bone loss leading to tooth loss.

So exactly how does smoking negatively affect the placement of dental implants?

Dental implants are made from titanium and when we place one in your jawbone the bone and gum integrate with the implant and hold it firmly in place. However, nicotine constricts your blood vessels, depriving the tissue in your mouth of oxygen and nutrients, and also reduces saliva flow, all of which slows down the healing process. Smoking also lowers your immunity and ability to fight infection.

Studies have shown that this means that integration success rates with smokers are about 90% compared with the 98% success rates we have with non-smokers. In other words success is still highly predictable and hence being a smoker absolutely shouldn’t deter patients from having dental implants placed.

Quit, don’t quit. It’s up to you. Like all surgical procedures you should be aware of the risks and how you can improve your success rate.