Smoking, Drinking and Your Dental Implants

Smoking, Drinking and Your Dental Implants

Ongoing oral health advice for our Chelmsford dental implant patients.

When you take the decision to have a dental implant placed, your dentist will advise you to stop smoking and also reduce your alcohol consumption for a period of time either side of the procedure. This is in order for your gums, and mouth in general, to be as healthy as possible and therefore increase the already high chances of a successful implant procedure with a minimal risk of infection.

Naturally, this is not always easy for those who smoke or drink on a regular basis, and, even in those who manage to stop for this period of time, it is not unusual for them to slip back into the habit; but doing so may still put your implant at risk.

Gum disease

Both gingivitis and periodontitis are more common in smokers than nonsmokers and both can have a negative impact on your implants. It is especially important if you smoke, whether an implant patient or not, to visit the hygienist regularly to make sure that your gums are kept as free from ‘bad’ bacteria as possible. If gum disease is allowed to develop, it may lead to periodontitis which, as we have mentioned in previous blogs,  not only affects the gums, but also the underlying bone structure. If this becomes compromised and starts to degrade, there is every likelihood that the implant will become loose and unstable. Once a dental implant becomes loose, it may prove impossible to reverse this and you may even lose the implant altogether.

Peri-implantitis

Peri-implantitis is similar to periodontitis except that it causes inflammation of the gum and/or hard tissues that surround the dental implant creating tiny gaps that the bacteria can enter. Once again, this can cause damage to the surrounding structures which hold the implant in place.

Prevention

Patients who value their dental implants should seriously look at ways to help them stop smoking. There are now many ways to achieve this and recent studies have shown that most people who vape, for example, have stopped smoking. This does not mean that there may not be risks to vaping and these may not yet be known, but it is widely thought that any issues found will be small in comparison with smoking tobacco products. Implant patients should also pay special attention to cleaning around the implant. This should be done using a relatively new toothbrush with bristles stiff enough to remove bacteria. Dental floss is also essential for removing harmful bacteria that become trapped between the teeth.

Whether you smoke or not, hygienist visits are essential to help you keep your implants healthy. Regular dental visits, including hygiene, will help to remove hardened bacterial deposits that brushing alone cannot.

For more information about dental implants in general, or specific advice about their aftercare, please call Blue Sky Dental of Chelmsford on 01245 211070.

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