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How Smoking Affects Dental Implants


Despite many Canadian Government Health Department attempts to reduce it, smoking is still a widespread behavior in the population today. Generally, it has adversely affected the health of millions of people all over the world. However, at Canadian Denture and Implant Centres we are mostly concerned with oral health; smoking increases the risks of developing periodontal disease, peri-implantitis, root caries, and cancerous lesions. It is also known to cause stained teeth(and dentures), delayed healing of wounds after orthognathic surgery, periodontal procedure and extractions.

The success of a dental implant relies on numerous factors which include: good surgery, good prosthesis, and proper maintenance. Studies show that dental implants typically have a high success rate and failures happen at a low rate and then only when there is a risk factor. The determining factors for implant success or failure include general patient health status, quality and quantity of bone, smoking habits, oral hygiene, denture specialist’s experience and implant characteristics and location. Generally, the factors that are patient-related are more critical than those that are implant-related in determining the likelihood of success or failure of the implant.

Studies show that smoking has been consistently the primary patient-related risk factor for implant failures. The failure rate of dental implants on smokers is twice higher compared to non-smokers, which ranges from 6.5% to 20%. Moreover, smoking is known to increase rates of complications on implants. It causes a significant amount of marginal bone loss after the implant procedure, which increases the risk of developing peri-implantitis and affects the healing process of the bone grafts.

As to which exact mechanism of smoking compromises the healing process of the implant is still unknown. However, there are several hypothesized mechanisms that may have contributed to implant failure. These may include the cytotoxicity of nicotine, hydrogen cyanide and carbon monoxide to the cells involved in the healing process. The decrease in tissue perfusion and vasoconstriction might have been caused by catecholamine excretion. Moreover, taking in increased levels of carboxyhaemoglobin, fibrinogen and compromised leukocyte function may cause high risks of blood viscosity and platelet adhesiveness.

Although smoking is known as the main risk factor for implant failure, denture specialists did not consider it as an absolute contraindication. When considering implant treatment, the first thing on the list should be the patient’s smoking history, which include the intensity, duration and present status of smoking. Prior to the implant procedure, smokers are typically encouraged to stop smoking to avoid complications and increase the success rate of the treatment.

To know the best option for you, talk to a denture specialist at Canadian Denture and Implant Centers. We provide various dental procedures including: dental implants, complete dentures, partial and first dentures.