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Dental Implants and Smoking

woman with cigarette in handIt’s common knowledge that cigarettes are detrimental to your overall health, but they’re also a significant stumbling block if you’re insisting on dental implants. They can interfere with the healing period and cause an increased risk of implant failure. You will need to quit smoking, at least temporarily, if you want to go through with implant surgery.

How do Cigarettes and other Drugs affect Dental Implants?

Tobacco products produce a considerable number of problems during the recovery period that may cause implants to fail.

Cigarette Smoke

When inhaled cigarette smoke makes contact with the inside of your mouth, that is when it is hottest and most concentrated. At that point, it will burn your oral tissues, and over time the mouth will form white scaly patches called keratosis that can harm or block your salivary glands.

This, in turn, will cause dry mouth. Dry mouth is a problem since you need saliva to wash away the acids and plaque that bacteria leave in your mouth. If these harmful particles remain, they can cause gum disease and tooth decay. This may not harm the prosthetic teeth, but it will damage and undermine the nearby bones and tissue supporting them.


Nicotine causes problems for implants and raises the chance of failure, regardless of how it gets into the body. Because nicotine constricts the peripheral blood vessels in the mouth and skin, it will restrict the flow of oxygen and blood to your bones and oral tissues. This is critical during the healing period, where blood and oxygen are needed in the surgical site even more. As a result, the duration of recovery is prolonged and the immune system’s defenses lower.


Tobacco usage will hurt practically any surgery that is performed in the mouth. Tobacco and all its byproducts are peripheral vasoconstrictors. This means they constrict the flow of blood to smaller blood vessels, causing blood pressure to rise. Tobacco also can increase platelet adhesiveness which, when combined with constricted blood vessels, raises the risk of the smaller blood vessels closing off completely.

If your body doesn’t receive the proper level of oxygen and blood flow, it can’t heal. Moreover, if the immune system is suppressed, your risk of infection goes up, and osseointegration (the bonding of the implant with the jawbone) might not take place. Osseointegration is crucial for the success of the implant surgery, and it has a much higher failure rate for smokers than it does for nonsmokers.

Clinical trials have consistently rated smoking as one of the main risk factors on the fault of the patient for implant loss.

Smoking and Dry Sockets

Another issue unrelated to the drug itself is the act of inhaling. Inhaling creates suction, which can loosen protective blood clots prematurely. Blood clots act like scabs, exposing vulnerable areas and protecting them as they heal. Just as you should not pick at scabs if you remove blood clots you may experience pain and prolong the recovery period.

Dr. Crumpton will often prescribe antibacterial mouthwashes or salt water for rinsing so that you can ward off bacteria during the days after the surgery. Spitting can create a force strong enough to loosen blood clots, so avoid it. Instead, lean over a sink and let the liquid pour out of your mouth.

If you think you have a dry socket, contact us immediately so we can treat it.

For more information, please contact our office at 817-678-7395.


301 Trophy Branch Dr., Suite 100, Trophy Club, TX 76262

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David Crumpton, DDS, serves families in Trophy Club, Roanoke, Keller, Southlake, Colleyville, Fort Worth, and across the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex.

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