I thought you couldn’t refuse service to someone because of prejudice. I went to a dentist who is known for doing dental implants in my area and he said he doesn’t treat smokers and to “come back when I’ve quit.” Is that legal?
While I’m sure you feel you’re being discriminated against, your dentist likely feels like he’s protecting you. Even surgeons will sometimes deny patients a surgery if they feel their body isn’t healthy enough to handle the surgery. They don’t want to put the patient at risk.
When you are a smoker, it puts you at a serious risk of dental implant failure. There are two reasons for that. The first is gum disease. Smokers are at a much higher risk of gum disease than other patients. If you develop gum disease you will definitely not be a candidate for dental implants. They will fall out.
Gum disease causes a lot of problems including tooth loss. Without that being healed you will lose your implants too. A less ethical dentist would go ahead and give you the dental implants and by the time they failed, you’d never know why and the dentist would happily put your money in the bank.
A second issue with smoking is the decline of blood flow in your gums. When you smoke, there isn’t as much circulation in your gums. This makes healing more challenging and often leads to infections. Though many dental implant cases are successful when done with an experienced, skilled implant dentist, infection is the leading cause of failure.
This dentist is trying to protect you from being a statistic and spending all that time and money on a failed solution.
Options for Smokers
If you have no desire to quit smoking, you’ll need to look at alternative treatments unless you want to risk it with a dentist willing to give you implants anyway.
One alternative would be for you to get a dental bridge. This will only be useful if you’re not talking about replacing too many teeth.
If you need quite a few replaced, your next option would be to get a removable partial denture. Obviously, these aren’t as secure, but they will give you false teeth.
This blog is brought to you by Lexington Dentist Dr. Fred Arnold.