Can Smokers Have Dental Implants? | Smile Stories

Can Smokers Have Dental Implants?

can smokers have dental implants

Dental implants are one of the most popular tooth replacement options in the UK because they offer the best long-lasting, permanent solution to missing teeth.

However, for dental implants to be successful they need good foundations. They need healthy gums and a strong jawbone.

But smoking can be known to wreak havoc with the gums and teeth. It causes discolouration, plaque, bone loss, gum disease, oral cancer and tooth loss. But what effect does smoking have on dental implants and the healing process and does smoking cause implant failure?

With this in mind, you may be wondering “Can smokers have dental implants?” 

The good news is, Yes, smokers can get dental implants. Let the Smile Stories team explain why.

Can I have Dental Implants If I Smoke?

Whilst smokers can have dental implants, they are more likely to experience complications, there’s a greater chance of dental implants falling out and there may be a need for additional treatment before dental implants are fitted. 

To give your dental implants the best chance of surviving, dentists will recommend that you give up smoking ahead of treatment. 

Don’t worry though, we won’t judge you. Instead, the friendly implant dentists here at Smile Stories will offer helpful advice to help you reduce or kick the habit altogether. 

To give you a little push to stop smoking, so your dental implants have the best chance of surviving, it might be helpful if we highlight the effects that smoking has on your gums and teeth. 

We’ll also explain why dental implants are less successful in smokers.

The Effects of Smoking on Oral Health & Dental Implants

The success of dental implants largely depends on osseointegration, the process where the jawbone grows around and fuses with the implant. 

One of the main factors that affect this process is the bone and gum tissue at the site(s) where the implant is going to be placed.

The gum needs to be healthy and have no disease such as periodontitis and the bone must be strong, not weakened or reduced. 

The issue with smoking is that is a leading cause of gum and jaw bone disease. It weakens the very area of the mouth that you need to be strong to keep the teeth and implants in place. 

How Smoking Affects the Jawbone

As well as persistent bad breath and severe yellowing of the teeth, smoking causes the following issues:

An Increased Level of Plaque

Plaque is a sticky film that contains bacteria. If this isn’t removed it causes inflammation around the tooth leading to periodontal disease. 

Damage to the Gums

Smoking causes the soft tissue around the teeth to become loose, so bacteria can get under the gum and access the tooth roots and damage them. 

Dry Mouth

Smoking impairs how the salivary glands work, leading to a reduction in the amount and quality of saliva produced. This is called dry mouth and it significantly increases the chances of gum disease as there’s no way for food debris or bacteria to be washed from the surface of teeth.

Gum Disease

The facts above highlight that there’s a big connection between smoking and gum disease. The CDC states that smokers are 2 times more likely to suffer gum disease than non-smokers.

Osteopenia and Osteoporosis

Bone cells are continually being replaced. Smoking, for a variety of reasons, is known to cause a disruption in the production of new cells which leads to a lower bone mass and bone mineral density making bone vulnerable to osteoporosis and fracture. When this occurs in the jawbone, you are at risk of tooth loss. 

As the success of titanium implants depends on the implant and jaw bone fusing, osteoporosis could prevent this from happening. 

How Smoking Causes Instability in the Foundations

The effect that smoking has on the gums, as well as the structure and strength of the jaw bone, can make the foundations you are about to put the implants in less stable. This means that implants are less likely to be successful.  

If you continue to smoke after the implants are fitted it may weaken the structures holding your implants and any natural teeth you have in place. 

Smoking is responsible for natural and implanted teeth falling out. 

How Smoking Affects the Implant Procedure

Dental implants require a surgical procedure where an incision is made in the gum and a hole made in the jaw bone to place the implant. 

The gums need to heal after implant surgery and the jawbone needs to integrate with the implants. 

Smoking is known to impair wound healing and affect bone growth around the implant preventing osseointegration from happening as fast as it should.

The main reason for this is that smoking restricts blood flow to the bone and gums. This reduces the amount of oxygen being delivered to the bone and gums which is vital for healing wounds.

The nicotine slows the crucial production of the bone-forming cells, meaning that bone growth and implant integration is slowed. 

If the gums don’t heal and the bone doesn’t grow sufficiently to fuse with the dental implant, the structures needed to hold your new implants in place won’t be there. The implants will not become permanent fixtures in your jaw, they will fall out.  

Pre-Surgery Treatment For Smokers

Your first steps are always a thorough consultation where we get to know you and your dental history. We’ll find out if smoking has affected your mouth. If you smoke and it has caused damage or disease in the gums and/or bone this will need to be treated before dental implants are fitted. 

Treat the Gum Disease

Gum disease is a leading cause of tooth loss, it causes a reduction in the amount of gum tissue and jaw bone. Both are needed to hold your dental implants and teeth in place.

Treating the gum disease will prevent any further loss of the gums and jaw bone so you have nice stable foundations.

However, once the gum disease has been treated, further cigarette smoking may result in peri-implantitis, which as we have mentioned above is a condition similar to gum disease but it affects the tissues around the implanted tooth.  

Soft Tissue Graft

If smoking has caused gum disease which has led to significant gum recession a soft tissue graft can be carried out to restore gum tissue. 

The transplanted gum tissue will ensure your gums are deep enough to hold your dental implants in place and cover up any exposed nerves eliminating any sensitivity and pain caused by receding gums. 

Bone Graft

If smoking has caused a significant reduction in the amount of bone in your jaw, a bone graft can be carried out. Implanted bone will increase the height of your jawbone so that it is strong enough and deep enough for dental implants to be fitted. 

However, smoking can prevent the bone from grafting successfully and jeopardise your planned implant placement. 

Smoking Following A New Implant

The first few weeks after the implants are fitted is a crucial period. This is when the jawbone begins to fuse with the implants. If you smoke during this period it can increase the risk of infection and cause a deterioration in the jawbone. This will cause them to fall out.

Dental implants, soft tissue and bone grafts are an investment. They are not usually available on the NHS.  So if you are going to pay for dental implant treatment and any additional treatments needed ahead of implant treatment it would be best if you gave up smoking. 

Are e-cigarettes Harmful to Tooth Implants?

Whilst marketed as being safer than traditional cigarettes, there is mounting evidence that shows that e-cigarettes are just as bad for our oral health. The nicotine they contain causes irritation and dryness of the mouth. Vaping causes gum disease.  

Are You a Smoker Looking to Get Dental Implants?

Dental implants are the best long term solution to replace missing teeth. But they need a good solid jawbone and healthy gums to place them into. 

Smoking has a detrimental effect on both the gums and jawbone before and after implant treatment. It causes complications and increases the risk of implant failure.

However, being a smoker doesn’t mean that you can’t have dental implants but if you continue to smoke you might jeopardise your treatment. 

If you are a smoker and looking to get dental implants in Bournemouth the best thing to do is to book a FREE video consultation with one of our friendly expert implant dentists here at Smile Stories. We can assess your jawbone and gums and see if you’re a suitable candidate for dental implants.

Book now

Ask a Question

Fill in your details and grab a Free Implant Consultation this week

Drop files here or
Max. file size: 512 MB, Max. files: 2.
    Jump the waiting list for general dentistry

    Drop files here or
    Max. file size: 512 MB, Max. files: 2.