People who smoke have a much greater chance of developing gum disease and losing teeth as they age, and many individuals who lose teeth will visit a dentist to discuss the possibility of getting dental implants to replace the missing teeth. People who smoke can still get dental implants in many cases, but there are some risks that they will face with implants. Here are several things you should understand about implants and smoking if you currently smoke and are considering getting implants to replace your missing teeth.
There Is a Greater Chance of an Infection Forming
The process of getting dental implants takes time. The dentist begins by placing the implant in the jawbone. After this is complete, the person must wait until the implant and jawbone fuse together, and this is a process known as osseointegration. This process may take three to four months, or it could take longer. When a person smokes, the process generally takes longer than it would for a non-smoker. This occurs because the oxygen level to the person's mouth is not as strong for a smoker as it is for a non-smoker. The result of this is a longer healing time for the implant.
Because it takes longer for this process to complete with a smoker, the person has a greater chance of an infection forming. Whenever a person has a wound, there is a greater chance of an infection forming while the wound is healing. When the wound is completely healed, there is a very little chance of an infection forming. Because smokers do not heal as quickly, there is a greater chance they will end up with problems with the implant.
There Is a Greater Chance of Failure
The secondary effect of a lengthened healing time is the risk of the implant failing. When it takes longer to heal, there is more time for something to go wrong in the process. This leads to a higher chance of the implant failing with a person who smokes. If the implant fails, you may have to wait for a period of time before the dentist can attempt to put another one in your jawbone.
As you wait to have an implant put in your jawbone, you should realize there is a higher risk of bone loss. The jawbone in your mouth rebuilds itself when you use your teeth. When a tooth is missing, the jawbone under it will not have the necessary stimulation it needs to rebuild itself, and this often leads to jawbone mass loss.
You May Still Be Able to Get an Implant
Even though there are more risks for smokers than non-smokers, you might still be able to get an implant if you smoke; however, you will also need to accept the risks that are present. To find out if you qualify, a dentist must fully examine your mouth and will need to take x-rays to see your jawbone. If you qualify, the dentist might recommend a few different things. The first thing is that you stop smoking for at least one week before and after having the procedure. Secondly, the dentist may recommend having existing oral problems fixed before getting the implant. For example, if you have any cavities, you may need to get them fixed prior to getting the implant.
Smokers have a higher risk of losing teeth; therefore, they have a greater chance of needing implants or another type of tooth replacement product. If you have any gaps inside your mouth due to missing teeth, you should schedule an appointment with a dentist to find out if you qualify for implants. Check out websites like http://premierdentalgrp.com/ to learn more about dental implants.