Smoking Can Cause Dental Implants to Fail: Study

If you've just gotten a dental implant, dental researchers advise you not to light up: smoking increases the risk of dental implant failure.

Spanish researchers studied 66 patients who received 165 implants and followed their progress for 5 years. The implant failure rate for smokers was 15.8 percent, compared to just 1.4 percent in nonsmokers.

"People who smoke are at greater risk of infection following surgery and may heal more slowly," said Dr. Arturo Sanchez Perez, a researcher at the University of Murcia in Spain. "When an implant is placed in a smoker, it is more likely to fail."

Implants are manufactured devices that are placed surgically in the upper or lower jaw, where they function as anchors for replacement teeth. Implants are made of titanium and other materials that are compatible with the human body.

Implant surgery can be done either in a dental office or in a hospital, depending upon a number of factors. A local or general anesthetic may be used. Usually pain medications and, when necessary, antibiotics are prescribed. Your dentist will give you instructions on diet and oral hygiene.

Because implants require surgery, patients must be in good health, have healthy gums, have adequate bone to support the implant and be committed to meticulous oral hygiene and regular dental visits. If you are considering implants, a thorough evaluation by your dentist will help determine if you would be a good candidate.

The American Dental Association offers information about dental implants, including an overview, frequently asked questions and more at "www.ada.org/public/topics/implants.asp". For more information about how smoking can affect oral health or how to quit tobacco, log on to "www.ada.org/public/topics/smoking_tobacco.asp".

© 2017 American Dental Association. All rights reserved. Reproduction or republication is strictly prohibited without the prior written permission from the American Dental Association.

This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.

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Top Oral Care Tips for IMPLANTS

Most dental implants are successful, and there are a few steps you can take to help ensure success and make your implant last.

  • Practice good oral hygiene – brush twice a day and floss once daily. Using interdental brushes, brushes that slide between teeth, can help clean the hard to reach areas around your implant.

  • Quit smoking – smoking can weaken the bone structure and can contribute to implant failure.

  • Visit your dentist – cleanings and exams every six months can help ensure your implant is in good condition, and that it stays that way.

  • Avoid chewing on hard foods – don’t chew on hard items such as ice and hard candy because they can break the crown and your natural teeth.

Safeguard your implants for the future

The longevity and success of implants depends on your oral hygiene. Use one of our toothpastes to keep your mouth clean and healthy.