Dental Implants have come a long way since first emerging in the 1950’s. Over the years, they have been fine-tuned to provide successful, dependable tooth replacement. They now come in various shapes and sizes designed to accommodate individual needs. Implants are also designed to last a lifetime with up to a 98% success rate. However, like anything implanted in our body, there is a potential for failure.

Dental Implants restore one’s natural ability to bite and chew comfortably. They also recreate stimulation to the jaw bone like your natural tooth roots once provided. This helps to halt bone loss that can contribute to the declining mass of the jaw bone and subsequent loss of neighboring teeth. Bone loss is also the reason that some changes in facial appearance occur. For example, a person who’s mouth seems collapsed into their face, this ‘granny look’ is a common result of bone loss due to missing tooth roots.

Dental Implants can be a successful treatment for any age. Studies have shown that implant success rates are equal in younger as well as older patients. One study included 133 adults with no teeth, all being over age 80. Results showed that these senior patients experienced treatment results comparable to those in younger age groups. At any age, the factors that increase the potential for a successful outcome are having healthy gums and sufficient bone for implant support. Patients must also be committed to good oral hygiene and regular dental check-ups.

A significant contributor to implant failure has been shown to be smoking. Studies show that smokers have more calculus (tartar) than nonsmokers. Calculus is the cement-hard buildup on teeth that is actually a concentrated colony of oral bacteria. When gums are already weakened by the attack of oral bacteria, their ability to promote successful integration with Dental Implants is compromised.

In studies, smokers were 3 – 6 times more likely to have gum disease than non-smokers. Smoking dries out oral tissues and decreases the production of saliva. Smoking also interferes with oral healing, making implant treatment more difficult.

One study determined that smokers were twice as likely to lose teeth within five years after having gum disease treatment. This is likely because smokers don’t respond as well to oral surgery treatments. Thus, it makes sense that Dental Implants are more likely to fail in smokers because of slowed healing.

Researchers who have studied how tobacco smoke affects oral tissues say it appears to interfere with the body’s natural ability to fight disease and promote healing. Smoking apparently affects the way gum tissue responds to all types of treatment, likely due to the chemicals in tobacco that interfere with blood flow to the gums.

Pipe and cigar smokers and those who use smokeless tobacco are just as likely to have Dental Implant complications than those who smoke cigarettes. A study at Temple University showed that 18% of former cigar or pipe smokers had moderate to severe gum disease, three times the amount of that for non-smokers. Pipe smokers have rates of tooth loss equal to that of cigarette smokers.

The Surgeon General has good news for those wanting (or trying to) quit smoking. A recent study reported that people who had quit smoking 11 years prior had nearly the same rate of gum disease as those who never smoked.

Reducing the amount you smoke can also improve oral health. One study found that people who smoked more than a pack and a half a day were 6 times more prone to develop gum disease than nonsmokers. Those who smoked less than a half pack a day had only 3 times the risk.

While every Dental Implant placed is intended to have a successful outcome for your lifetime. However, those who smoke must accept the risks for failure. The first step is a thorough evaluation of your gums and existing bone to support Dental Implants. From there, we can help you take the first step towards a successful outcome with Dental Implants. Jut think – you can regain the ability to eat the foods you love and laugh with confidence in addition to the health benefits of kicking the smoking habit! Call 219-987-5733 for an appointment.