While there are numerous negative health effects that smoking can have on the body, people may not realize that smoking can hinder the success of a dental implant surgery. There are several reasons for this that include the loss or restriction of the necessary blood flow. Nicotine impacts the blood vessels by causing them to clamp down, which means less blood flows to areas that need it.
When placing an implant, the body depends on that blood flow for proper healing. Therefore, doing something as simple as grabbing a cigarette can make it harder for the body to heal itself afterward. Next, smoking also blocks the salivary glands from producing needed saliva, creating dryness in the mouth. This can increase the risk of a person developing an infection.
Both of these issues, in combination with the fact that cigarette smoking can actually burn mouth tissues, creates a situation where the mouth is having to fight to heal itself while being handicapped from smoking. Another risk that smokers have comes from bone loss.
Over time, bone loss from smoking can become problematic and make it less likely that the implants will have enough jaw bone density to successfully secure to the bone. Smokers may need additional procedures such as a bone graft prior to getting implants. http://www.deardoctor.com/inside-the-magazine/issue-27/dental-implants-and-smoking/
People who drink alcohol in excess have similar risks since alcohol can also restrict blood flow. Even one or two drinks can be dangerous for the thinning of the blood. While it is normal to have some bleeding post-surgery, the blood will not clot properly if it is too thin. This can create an uncomfortable situation for patients who need to use a lot of gauze to stop the bleeding.
In the worst case scenario, the blood is too thick and it may be impossible to stop without further damage. Drinking too much alcohol can also increase the risk of infection. The bottom line is that dental implant surgery is exactly that, surgery. It is important to take the procedure seriously and prepare for recovery. Preparations include taking time off of work to limit activities, avoid lifting anything heavy, consuming a diet that is going to promote recovery rather than take away from it.
This makes it necessary to avoid smoking and drinking as much as possible. Those who simply cannot avoid these things need to be upfront with the oral surgeon before having implant surgery. This way, there can be a plan in place for more closely monitoring the situation and reacting as needed.
However, in an ideal situation, patients would try to quit these habits prior to having surgery for their own personal benefit. After all, if multiple teeth are being replaced with implants, the risk of having those implants fail due to smoking and drinking is simply too great. From a financial and time perspective, it is not worth the risk.