The Impact of Smoking on Dental Implants: How Lighting Up Can Snuff Out Your Smile

The Impact of Smoking on Dental Implants: How Lighting Up Can Snuff Out Your Smile

Smoking is unquestionably harmful to our health. Not only does it increase the risk of cancer and other illnesses, but it can also damage oral hygiene.

Dental implants are an ideal option to replace missing teeth and restore one’s smile. It can last for decades with proper care. Unfortunately, longevity can be significantly shortened if you’re a heavy smoker.

In this blog post, we will tackle the relationship between smoking and dental implants. We will also take a look into ways that you can do to mitigate the risks.

Please keep reading to find out more.

Timberlands Dental Clinic Wanneroo

Summary of the Content

  • Smoking reduces the restorative benefits of dental implants.

  • Smoking increases the chances of dental implant failure.

  • Education, patient engagement, and healthcare provider support are vital components of maintaining good oral health if you are a smoker or have a history of smoking.

  • Smoking affects the success rate of dental implants, increases the risk of implant failure, and can cause infection and discolouration.

  • Quitting smoking is an ideal way to protect oral health and achieve optimal outcomes with dental implants.

Smoking and Dental Health

Smoking is a well-known risk factor for various health problems, including dental diseases. The harmful chemicals in tobacco can have a range of adverse effects on the mouth, teeth, and gums. They increase the risk of several oral health conditions and contribute greatly to dental implant failure rates.

Here are some ways smoking affects dental health:

  • Gum Disease
    Smoking damages the gums and weakens the body’s immune system. As a result, fighting off infections becomes more difficult. Smokers are more likely to develop periodontitis, a severe gum or periodontal disease that can lead to tooth loss. Smoking also masks the symptoms of gum disease, making it harder to detect and manage.

  • Tooth Decay
    Tobacco use slows down salivary gland activity. There is reduced production of saliva that supposedly neutralises acid and protects teeth from decay. It also increases the amount of plaque and tartar on teeth, which leads to more significant tooth decay. Additionally, smokers are more likely to experience dry mouth, thereby increasing the risk of cavities.

  • Oral Cancer
    The carcinogens in tobacco smoke can damage the cells in the oral cavity, increasing the risk of mouth cancer. Smokers are six times more at risk of developing oral cancer than non-smokers. Oral cancer is serious and difficult to manage. With this, quitting smoking and seeing a dentist regularly for check-ups is crucial.

What Are Dental Implants?

Dental implants are a type of dental restoration used to replace missing and decayed teeth. They are artificial tooth roots surgically implanted into the jawbone to support replacement teeth, such as crowns, bridges, or dentures.

Dental implants are made from titanium, a biocompatible metal that allows the implant to integrate with bone tissue over time. This process is called osseointegration and helps to anchor the implant firmly in place.

Dental implants have become popular for replacing missing teeth because they offer several advantages over other tooth replacement options, such as dentures or bridges. This is mainly because of the following:

  • Tooth implants are more stable and durable than dentures or bridges.
  • They look like natural teeth, providing a solid base for replacement teeth.
  • Titanium implants not only help to maintain healthy jawbone tissue, but they also stimulate it in much the same way that a natural tooth root would.

How Do Dental Implants Work?

Dental implants are a popular option for restoring your smile. They allow you to replace missing or damaged teeth. Getting dental implants involves several stages and can take several months to complete. Here is a step-by-step guide to the dental implant process:

  1. Consultation and Examination
    The first step in getting dental implants is to consult with a dental professional. During this check-up, your dentist will assess the condition of your mouth, teeth, and gum tissues. They will explain the oral health impact of smoking on dental implants. They will then decide if you are eligible for dental implants.

  2. Planning and Preparation
    Once your dentist determines that dental implants suit your case, they will create a personalised treatment plan. This may require taking x-rays, CT scans, or 3D images of your mouth to determine the suitable location for the implant.

  3. Implant Placement
    The process will involve the placement of the implant into your jawbone. During this dental procedure, your dentist will make a small incision in your gums to access the bone. Then, they will use a special drill to create a hole in the bone where the implant will be placed.

  4. Osseointegration
    Once the implant is placed, it will take several months to integrate with your jawbone. This integration process is referred to as osseointegration. The bone will grow around the implant during this time, creating a strong, stable foundation.

  5. Abutment Placement
    After completing osseointegration, your dentist will attach a small connector called an abutment to the implant. The abutment will protrude from the gum line and provide a base for the replacement tooth.

  6. Replacement Tooth
    Your dentist will attach a custom-made replacement tooth or crown to the abutment. The replacement tooth is designed to match your natural teeth in size, shape, and colour, providing a natural-looking and functional result.

  7. Dental Implant Success Rates
    Dental implants have a 90-95% success rate. This is significantly higher than other dental treatments.

Proper oral hygiene practices can maximise your chances of dental implant success even further. This includes brushing and flossing regularly and attending scheduled check-ups. However, certain factors affect dental implant success rates. This includes smoking, diabetes, bone quality, and other pre-existing conditions.

The oral health impact of smoking on dental implants is one of the major concerns of smokers considering dental implant treatment because smoking can significantly reduce the success rates of dental implants. This is due to the negative effects of smoking which can lead to post-surgery complications.

How Smoking Affects Dental Implants

The effects of cigarette smoking are deleterious. Here are some ways in which smoking habits can harm dental implants:

  • Delayed Healing
    Smoking can slow down the bone healing process after implant surgery. It constricts the blood vessels and reduces blood flow to the gums, making it harder for the periodontal tissues to heal and regenerate.

  • Increased Risk of Infection
    Smoking also increases the risk of postoperative infections at the implant site. This can lead to implant failure.

  • Implant Failure
    The risk of failure in smokers getting implants is high. Smoking weakens the bone structure and slows down the osseointegration process.

  • Gum Disease
    Smoking increases your risk of developing gum diseases, which can also cause implant failure. Gum disease can lead to the recession of gums and resorption of bone, which may expose the implant to bacterial infection and reduce the amount of bone available for implant attachment.

Nicotine and Dental Implants

Smoking and its effect on dental implants are quite serious due to the harmful chemicals present in tobacco products. One is nicotine. Nicotine does more than affect one’s lungs and heart. It can also have a serious effect on your jawbone health. Nicotine has been found to decrease jawbone density, weakening the teeth and bones.

Nicotine hinders blood flow to bone tissues. This disrupts bone cell renewal and impedes the development of new bone. This leads to an increased risk of fracture due to weakened bones and altered tooth movement. This can cause implant failure and lengthen surgical and healing time.

According to research, those who use any form of nicotine product have a lower success rate with dental implant surgery than non-smokers.

Therefore, patients must understand smoking and its effect on dental implants and consider quitting before the surgery. Otherwise, they may have to explore alternatives to dental implant treatment. Doing so helps them achieve their desired results. At the same time, their improved overall health will be worth the transition.

Smoking and Implant Surgery

Smoking and its effect on dental implants and overall oral health should not be taken lightly. This is because it can increase the risk of complications during implant surgery, which can compromise one’s health and safety.

  • Increased Risk of Implant Failure
    One of the most serious complications of dental implant surgery is an increased risk of failure. Smoking impairs the blood supply to the gums. This can lead to problems with the implant fusing to the bone.

  • Impaired Healing
    Smoking can increase inflammation which disrupts the healing process, thus, delaying recovery. Moreover, smokers are more likely to need revision surgery, a second surgery to address problems after the initial surgery.

  • Increased Risk of Gum Disease
    Smoking contributes to gum disease by impairing blood flow to the gums and promoting the growth of bacteria. When the gums are inflamed and proper care is not given, it eventually leads to tooth loss.

  • Staining of Teeth
    Tobacco smoke contains tar and other chemicals that can stain the teeth. Furthermore, smokers are more likely to develop tartar build-up on their teeth, which can cause staining.

Implant Maintenance for Smokers

Maintaining dental implants when you are a smoker isn’t easy, but it is possible with dedication and the right knowledge.

To protect your implants, you should consider cutting down on smoking as much as possible. Moreover, to keep them in optimal condition, it is recommended that you:

  • Brush your teeth after each cigarette.
    Smoking can increase the bacteria build-up in your mouth, leading to gum disease and other oral health problems. Brushing your teeth after each cigarette is vital to remove any particles stuck on them.

  • Use fluoride toothpaste.
    Smoking reduces the amount of saliva produced, resulting in a dry mouth. Tooth decay is just one of the many potential effects of mouth dryness. Fluoride toothpaste helps address these concerns. It helps replenish lost minerals and strengthen tooth enamel to prevent tooth decay.

  • Visit your dentist regularly for check-ups.
    Smoking increases plaque build-up on teeth and lowers the body’s immune response. This makes it more difficult for your body to fight off infections or heal from damage. Regular visits to the dental clinic allow your dentist to keep watching for dental problems before they even occur.

Quitting Smoking and Implant Success

Smoking affects the stability of dental implants and increases their chances of failing. It is highly recommended that you quit smoking before your implant surgery to achieve your desired results. When you quit smoking, you significantly reduce the risks of complications that come with the dental implant procedure

Dental Implants vs. Smoking

Take a look at how smoking affects dental implants in terms of cost, healing time, and overall outcome:

Dental Implants in Non-Smoking Patients

  • Non-smoking patients are more likely to have good periodontal health. Therefore, the cost of dental implant procedures is often lower due to less risk of postoperative infections and faster healing times. Furthermore, there may be no need for additional treatments before surgery.

  • Dental implants in non-smokers have an average healing time of 3-6 months with proper aftercare and good oral hygiene.

  • Non-smoking dental implant patients provide long-term benefits that contribute to a better quality of life. With proper care, they can be confident with their healthy smile and not worry about dental implants failing anytime.

Dental Implants in Smokers

  • Tobacco use can significantly increase the chances of dental implant failure, resulting in higher expenses and the risk of needing further interventions.

  • Smoking can seriously inhibit how quickly your body heals after dental implantation. It is not uncommon for heavy smokers to have up to twice the duration of the normal healing period.

  • Due to increased risks associated with smoking, such as infection and poor circulation, smoking patients may experience poorer overall health outcomes. The risk of implant failure or damage will always be high.

Alternatives to Dental Implants

If your dentist decides that dental implants are not suitable for you, they will present a variety of alternatives, including:


Dentures can provide a removable and low-cost option for restoring your smile. However, dentures may be uncomfortable and require frequent adjustments as the gums change shape.


Dental bridges involve using adjacent teeth for support. The bridge is attached to these teeth and provides stability for the artificial replacement tooth or teeth in place of a missing tooth.

Counselling Smokers Before Implant Surgery

Counselling smokers before implant surgery is essential to the procedure’s success. Below are some of the reasons why dentists should provide such:

  • To discuss the potential risks associated with smoking and implant surgery.
    The influence of smoking is damaging to dental implants. Smoking can increase the chances of infection, cause the failure of implant placement, and increase the rate of bone loss after surgical treatment. Before undergoing a surgical procedure, patients should be informed of potential risks to make a well-informed decision for their dental health.

  • To understand the healing process
    Smoking can impair healing by delaying wound closure, reducing blood supply, and increasing inflammation. Understanding how smoking affects dental implants and recovery time allows patients to set realistic expectations regarding their recovery period.

  • To address any underlying oral health issues
    Any underlying oral health issues must be addressed first so that they do not interfere with the successful placement and healing of the implant later on. Only a qualified dental health professional can identify areas needing attention before surgery.

  • To discuss lifestyle changes that may be necessary during recovery
    Smoking can negatively impact the wound-healing process and increase complications after implant surgery. Patients must consider quitting smoking to reduce these risks before committing to the treatment.

Collaborating with Dentists and Other Healthcare Providers

Dentists and healthcare providers play an important role in helping patients make decisions about dental implant treatments. Education regarding how smoking affects dental implants is essential to helping patients understand their options.

Dentists and other healthcare providers can advise how frequent cleanings, x-rays, and additional interventions such as medications may be beneficial for maintaining good oral health in a smoker. Meanwhile, oral surgeons can provide invaluable information on dental implant placement and replacement if existing implants are compromised due to heavy cigarette smoking. Outreach initiatives such as community screenings, online materials, pamphlets, and patient history exams can also support patient decision-making.

Final Thought

The oral health impact of smoking on dental implants should be taken seriously. If you are a smoker, it is important to understand that smoking is a major risk factor for dental implants. It reduces their effectiveness and increases the likelihood of complications.

Education, patient engagement, and healthcare provider support are vital components of maintaining good oral health if you currently smoke or have a history of smoking. With preventive practices, early intervention, and cessation of smoking, patients can enjoy all the benefits of healthy teeth, gums, and smiles.

If you’re interested in dental implants but are worried about how your smoking can affect your treatment, Timberlands Dental Clinic is here to assist. Our team can help guide you every step of the way toward achieving a healthier smile. Don’t wait any longer. Book an appointment with us today!