smoking and dental implantsMany Americans are very aware of the effects of smoking on overall health. Smoking undoubtedly leads to various forms of cancer including lung cancer and oral cancer.  However, for the avid smoker that is considering dental implants, it is important to understand the effects of smoking on dental implants.

According to a 2007 study,

“Smoking can harm the integrity of dental implants and cause them to fail more often than in a nonsmoker, according to a new study that appeared in the February [2007]  issue of the Journal of Periodontology (JOP).”

The study was conducted at the University of Murcia in Spain. Here are some more of the findings:

“People who smoke are at a greater risk of infection following surgery, and may heal more slowly,” said Dr. Arturo Sanchez Perez, Department of Periodontology at the University of Murcia. “When an implant is placed in a smoker, it is more likely to fail. This means a patient’s smile may be negatively affected, and the potential for more bone loss in the areas surrounding the gums and teeth.”

Smoking negatively affects blood flow to the bone and tissues surrounding the gums and teeth, which impairs bone healing. Implants fail because of a failure to integrate with the surrounding bone tissues. The study followed 66 patients over 5 years, who received 165 implants. They found that 15.8% of implants failed in smokers, versus 1.4% of implants in non-smokers.

“Tobacco use has been shown to be a risk factor for periodontal diseases, which is the main cause of tooth loss in adults,” said Dr. Preston D. Miller, DDS, President of the American Academy of Periodontology, “This research shows that if you want your dental implant to last, you should not smoke. Also, the treating dentist should make sure their patients are aware of this before placing an implant, and emphasize the importance of quitting smoking.”