My dentist would not allow me to get dental implants until I quit smoking. I did, but I have to tell you it was distressingly hard. Going out with my friends became stressful instead of fun. They always smoke and I had to stand there and try hard not to. I’ve gone through the healing period and just got my implant crown. I’m hoping I can start smoking now that all of that is done. Is that okay? I don’t really want to ask my dentist because he keeps telling me how proud he is that I’ve stopped smoking and I’m embarrassed for him to know that I’m starting back.
It’s fantastic that you made the effort to quit smoking. It greatly increases your chances of a successful procedure. While the healing time span is the most vulnerable, smoking affects your dental implant outcome throughout their lifetime. I’ll list out the risks associated with your implants and smoking and let you make the decision. However, if you do start smoking again, your dentist will know even if you don’t ‘fess up. There are too many signs in your mouth for him not to know.
Here are the risks:
- Restricted blood flow: When you smoke, it inhibits the amount of oxygen rich blood available to you. This can lead to a series of problems.
- Higher occurrences of gum disease: Smokers have a much higher than normal rate of gum disease. This can be catastrophic to your implants for the following reasons:
- Inflammation: Gum disease causes your gums to swell and bleed. This often leads to infection, which is one of the leading causes of dental implant failure.
- Bone Loss: Gum disease leads to loss of healthy bone in your jaw, which is what anchors the implant. If that progresses, it won’t take long for your implants to just fall out.
You’re an adult, so obviously need to make your own choices. But, you worked so hard to get these implants. I’d hate to see you sabotage everything you’ve accomplished. Quitting smoking is one of the hardest addictions to get past, but I’m confident based on what you’ve done so far you’re someone who’s capable of getting past these rough spots and taking control of your body and health.
It’s a miserable feeling being dependent on something. Think of the freedom you’ll have (and the money you’ll save) when you get past the worst of it. Plus, you’ll get to keep your gorgeous new smile.
If you lose these implants, you’ll not only have to start over but will need expensive bone grafting in order to anchor them. Otherwise, you’ll be left with the option of dentures, which are much less pleasant to live with.
This blog is brought to you by Dr. Fred Arnold.