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Does smoking affect dental implants?

Cigarette smoking has long been associated with multiple oral diseases. Smoking acts by reducing blood flow to your mouth, shifting your natural oral bacteria to bad bacterial types, compromising wound healing and even altering your body’s immune response, to lead to a variety of disastrous effects on your oral health. This can include oral cancer, gum disease, tissue loss, tooth loss, peri-implantitis and dental implant failure.

How does smoking affect dental implants?

It can lead to:

  • Significantly more marginal bone loss after an implant has been placed, compromising its stability;
  • Increased incidence of peri-implantitis – inflammation of the gum creating deep pocketing and bone resorption around the implant leading to looseness, bleeding and in some cases pain;
  • Lowered success rate of bone grafting – meaning less bone available to place and hold an implant within the bone.

It is obvious smoking is not great for your oral health, especially when it comes to your implant. While smoking is a risk factor for implant failure, it is not an absolute contraindication. Research has shown that stopping your smoking habit one week before and up to two months after an implant is placed can help achieve better implant outcomes. It is however important to cease smoking to avoid complications altogether – implant related or not – to achieve the treatment objective you desire.

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