The Negative Effects of Smoking on Dental Implants

There’s no question that smoking is bad for your health and harms every organ of the body, but our patients here at Bergen Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery who smoke often want to understand exactly how smoking affects the chances for successful dental implant surgery. Put simply, smoking has adverse effects on oral health for obvious reasons, and it also negatively affects the outcome of procedures in the oral cavity—like dental implant placement.

Here are a few alarming facts about smoking and dental implants:

  • The implant failure rate for smokers is significantly higher than that of nonsmokers—some studies have shown it’s twice as high.
  • Smokers who receive implants are much more susceptible to bacterial infection.
  • Smoking decreases the success rates of bone grafts, which are sometimes required for a patient to receive dental implants.
  • The incidence of peri-implantitis after implant placement is much higher among smokers.
  • Nicotine (in cigarette smoke) reduces blood flow to soft issues, which can make it harder for the mouth to heal properly.
  • Smoke in the mouth damages the salivary glands, increases the risk of developing gum disease (which leads to tooth loss), and increases the loss of bone within the jaw.

So, can you get dental implants if you are a smoker? The short answer is yes, although our surgical team evaluates each patient carefully to assess the health of his or her mouth and determine whether they are eligible for dental implants.

If we find that you are a candidate, here’s what you can do to help increase your chances of successful dental implants:

Stop smoking prior to surgery. Avoid smoking for two weeks before implant placement to prepare your body for anesthesia and minimize the risk of complications. Nicotine increases the heart rate and blood pressure and makes it more difficult for the heart and lungs to get the oxygen they need. For these and other reasons, it’s best to avoid smoking prior to your dental implant surgery.

Avoid smoking for at least eight weeks after surgery. Once a dental implant is placed, its success depends on how well the implant fuses with the jawbone (called osseo-integration). While the mouth is healing, you must avoid smoking or you risk causing the titanium post (the “root” of the implant) to not attach properly to the bone.

While non-smokers have a higher success rate with dental implants, many patients who smoke still have great success too. For a thorough evaluation, call us at one of our three locations: Hackensack: 201.343.8297, Westwood: 201.664.5656, or Ridgewood: 201.444.4137. We are happy to answer your questions and determine whether dental implant surgery is right for you.