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Smoking and Implant Failure

Dentists recommend quitting smoking to avoid dental implant failure Dental implants are a solution for replacing missing teeth. This modern-day treatment uses small titanium posts, which are surgically placed into your jaw, to provide support for the ceramic crowns that act as your replacement teeth. It is an incredibly popular and highly successful treatment that provides you with a long-term solution for your missing teeth. While implants have a 98% success rate, there are a few different issues that can lead to failure, including smoking. Optimum Oral Surgery Group is here to help.

What is Implant Failure?

As you heal from dental implant surgery, your jawbone fuses to the titanium posts. This fusion, which occurs gradually, is a natural process called osseointegration. As your bone fuses to the posts, they are turned into strong, stable roots that can hold your new teeth securely in place.

If your jawbone is not able to fuse properly to the implant posts, the results are loose posts and unstable dental restorations. This is known as implant failure. Implant failure can occur at any time, including during the recovery process and even years after your implants have successfully been integrated into your jaw.

Smoking and Recovery Time

Cigarettes contain numerous harmful chemicals, and their harmful effects on your health have been well documented. Smoking cigarettes can also significantly impact your healing time. Cigarettes limit the amount of oxygen in your blood. Your blood flow is also slowed, which slows the delivery of essential nutrients to your surgical wounds. As a result, your healing is slowed, which then significantly increases your risk of developing infections and experiencing implant failure.

Dry Socket

Smoking can do more than slow your blood flow. The act of smoking itself can cause blood clots at surgical wounds to become dislodged. When this happens, an open wound is created. Bacteria can then get inside the surgical wounds and cause infections.

Interference with Medications

Following your surgery, you may be provided with medications to help prevent infections. Smoking can interfere with these medications, rendering them ineffective.

Increased Risk for Gum Disease

Plaque and bacteria accumulate on the surfaces of your dental implants just as they accumulate on your natural teeth. Both of these substances irritate your gums, leading to gum disease. Even if all of your teeth have been replaced with dental implants, it is essential that you brush and floss your teeth every day, and have your teeth professionally cleaned and examined at least twice a year.

If bacteria make their way under your gums, they can begin to attack your jawbone. This weakens the bone, which then affects the stability of your dental implants. If the posts become too weak, your implants can fail, even years after your implants have been placed.


Peri-implantitis is one of the leading causes of implant failure. When you smoke, your tissues, including your bone, are at greater risk of becoming inflamed. When the bone becomes inflamed, it weakens. This can affect the ability of your jawbone to fuse to the posts properly, which can fail.

Reducing Your Risk for Implant Failure

There are several things that you can do to decrease your risk for implant failure. If you are a smoker, we recommend that you quit before surgery. If you are unable to quit for good, we do recommend that you quit at least for the duration of your treatment. Keep in mind, however, that continuing to smoke after you have successfully healed from surgery can still lead to implant failure.

In addition to quitting smoking, it is also important that you follow your post-surgical instructions to ensure proper healing. Brushing and flossing every day, even if all of your teeth have been replaced with implants, is essential. You should also have your teeth professionally cleaned and examined at least every six months.

Smoking not only has serious health issues, but it can also increase your risk for implant failure. While it does not disqualify you from receiving implants, we do recommend that you quit, at least for the duration of your treatment. If you have any questions or concerns, do not hesitate to call Optimum Oral Surgery Group at (856) 437-4432 today.

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