Dental Implants are the most successful tooth replacement option available, having up to a 98% success rate. Today, there are over forty implant systems, each designed to accommodate various needs and preferences. Dental Implants come in many types, each designed to accommodate various needs and preferences.
Although Dental Implants are designed to last a lifetime, there is a potential for failure.
Contrary to what some may assume, age is not a factor in the success of Dental Implants. Studies have shown that all ages can enjoy a successful and lasting result with Dental Implants. Studies have shown elderly patients have treatment results comparable to those in younger age groups. (See one study published by Science Direct – www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1882761609000039)
Regardless of age, the factors that influence the potential for a successful outcome to the greatest degree are gum health and available bone mass. Being committed to good oral hygiene and regular dental exams has far more to do with one’s potential for success than age.
For individuals who smoke, however, the potential for implant failure is a much greater risk factor. Studies have shown that implant patients who smoke have higher levels of calculus (also known as tartar) than non-smokers. (www.cdc.gov/tobacco/campaign/tips/diseases/periodontal-gum-disease.html)
Calculus is a hardened form of plaque, which is the sticky film you feel on teeth at the end of the day before brushing. Calculus is actually a cement-hard colony of oral bacteria that attaches to tooth surfaces. These masses of oral bacteria eat away at healthy tooth enamel and gum tissues.
When gums are fighting inflammation caused by accumulated oral bacteria, the chances of successful integration of Dental Implants are decreased. As a matter of fact, studies show that smokers are 3 – 6 times more likely to have gum diseases than non-smokers.
Higher levels of plaque in smokers occurs, in part, due to oral dryness. Smoking is drying to oral tissues and decreases saliva flow. When saliva production is insufficient to help cleanse the mouth, oral bacteria amass more rapidly. And, because blood flow in smokers is more constricted, the healing process is compromised. The longer it takes an implant to heal, the greater the potential for bacterial complications.
Researchers who have studied how tobacco smoke affects oral tissues explain that it interferes with the body’s natural ability to fight disease and promote healing. Due to the chemicals in tobacco that interfere with blood flow to the gums, smoking impacts how the gums respond to any treatment that involves gum tissues.
The same problems exist for pipe and cigar smokers as well as ‘chew’ (smokeless tobacco). These users have an equal risk for Dental Implant complications as those who smoke cigarettes.
A study at Temple University showed that 18 percent of former cigar or pipe smokers had moderate to severe periodontal (gum) disease, which is three times that of non-smokers. Pipe smokers were shown to experience tooth loss at rates equal to that of cigarette smokers. (www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/111560440)
If your 2018 resolution includes “cutting back” rather than quitting, this can help. One study included those who smoke over a pack and a half a day and compared them to those who smoke less than a half pack daily. Those who smoked heavily had more than 6 times the risk of developing gum disease than nonsmokers. There was only 3 times the risk for lighter smokers.
We want all patients to have a successful outcome for every dental treatment we provide. We feel those who smoke should be made aware of the risks for implant failure so they can be more proactive in their care.
If you do smoke, we recommend beginning with a thorough evaluation of your gums and available bone to support Dental Implants. From there, we can discuss the best way to help you enjoy the advantages of Dental Implants with the greatest potential for success.
Call (910) 254-4555 to arrange a free consultation.