Dental implants are very successful restorations for most people. However, if you are a smoker, your odds of success are significantly reduced. If you are a smoker considering dental implants, it’s important to consider your risk and try to quit smoking if possible.


Smoking Reduces Dental Implant Success

Smoking has a dramatic impact on the bones in your jaw, and because dental implants depend on your bone for support, they are less likely to succeed in smokers. Smoking affects:

  • Bone healing
  • Bone height
  • Bone loss
  • Quality of bone

In every case these are negatively impacted by smoking, which increases your risk of implant failure. In general, smokers are 1.7 times more likely to have their implant fail during the first stage of the implant procedure, before the artificial tooth is placed atop the implant.

After that, there are many more variable estimates for how much of an impact smoking makes. Studies show that smoking may increase the failure rate of dental implants by 50-200% in the long term.

How Does Smoking Affect Dental Implants

What is hardest to pinpoint is exactly how smoking affects dental implant survival. For some reason, it seems that smoking leads to the creation of fibrous tissue, rather than bone tissue around a dental implant. When your body is healing the bone around the dental implant, it brings some undifferentiated tissue in to help direct the healing process. This includes cells that can differentiate into bone cells or soft tissue cells, and for some reason smoking seems to cause them to turn into soft tissue cells, not bone cells.

However, we’re not exactly sure why. Several studies have investigated nicotine as the cause, only to find that when only nicotine is applied to test animals, it doesn’t produce the same effects as cigarette smoking. This may continue to remain a mystery, because cigarette tobacco contains thousands of chemicals, and many of them may play a role in dental implant failure.

Studies have not yet been done considering the impact of different brands of cigarettes, cigarettes made in different countries, or so-called natural cigarettes on dental implants, so it may be a while before we get clarification on this issue.

We Will Discuss Your Risk

At My Hills Dentist, we will talk to you about the different risk factors that can affect your dental implant survival so you can make an informed decision about whether you want to go through with the procedure as a smoker or if you would rather quit smoking first to improve your odds of success.

To talk to us about dental implants, please contact My Hills Dentist in the Baulkham Hills area of Sydney.