I’m a lifetime smoker and have started losing some teeth. I’d really like to replace them with dental implants, but one dentist said no and another yes. Part of me is like jump at the yes, but the other part of me wonders why the first dentist said no. He said he doesn’t give them to smokers, but didn’t elaborate. Is there something wrong with that? Can smokers get dental implants?
This is tricky. The first question you need to ask is why are you losing teeth. Smokers are at an increased risk for gum disease. Advanced gum disease leads to tooth loss. If your teeth are falling out for this reason, that automatically knocks you out of contention for dental implants.
If your gums are unable to support your natural teeth, they will not be able to support your dental implants any more successfully. They will fall out just like your teeth.
If they’ve fallen out for other reasons, such as decay or trauma, it is technically possible. However, being a smoker puts you at a greater risk of dental implant failure. This is for two reasons:
1. Smoking decreases the blood flow in your gums. This makes healing more difficult and increases your chances of infection. Infection is the leading cause of dental implant failure.
2. As mentioned above, smokers have a much higher incidence of gum disease. This is devastating for implants.
Should You Get Dental Implants?
You could get dental implants from the second dentist. While it is the best tooth replacement option, it is expensive and requires surgery. As a smoker, you are at a greater risk of dental implant failure. You’ll need to ask yourself if you are willing to do what it takes to make the procedure as successful as possible.
It would help if you didn’t smoke, or at the very least cut down significantly. Make sure you take very good care of your teeth. That will mean brushing twice a day and flossing every day. In addition, you’ll want to get regular checkups.
It’s also important, because you are a high-risk case, to see a doctor with a great deal of experience placing dental implants. A periodontist would be a good option or an oral surgeon.
Gum Disease and Dental Implants
If gum disease is keeping you from getting dental implants, that should be your first priority. Without dealing with that, you will continue to lose teeth. If your heart is set on getting dental implants, my suggestion is to get temporary tooth replacements to hold the space open, while you undergo treatment for your gum disease. Then, when it’s dealt with, you can go forward with your implants.
This blog is brought to you by Atlanta Periodontist Dr. David Pumphrey.