29 Apr 2021
6 min read
By Dr. Marco Benigni
Specialist Oral Surgeon
I absolutely do not place implants in patients who smoke more than 10 cigarettes a day.
If you stop smoking, I could place an implant one or two months later.
I need to know that I can trust you to have genuinely given up.
If I have to perform a bone graft procedure as part of your treatment then I will have to be certain that you don’t smoke any cigarettes whatsoever.
In general, smoking causes the blood vessels to shrink in the whole body so that means less blood – and blood is what you need to fight infections and to heal.
So with a dental implant procedure we want new bone to grow.
If there’s less blood coming in to these areas, it means those implants are more likely to get infected and also that there’s going to be less blood available for the healing because inflammation is part of the healing process.
So, generally, when you hurt yourself, there will be inflammation in the area. It will involve swelling and redness – because the blood vessels will dilate to bring more of the blood cells to heal the area.
As we’ve discussed, there is already compromise because you are a smoker.
In addition, smoke going directly into your mouth and on to your gums after a procedure makes things even worse. It interferes with the healing process.
So, firstly, it can cause bleeding because smoke is hot and it also contains some chemicals that are going to compromise the healing of the gums.
And, secondly, when you have new crowns implants, it’s going to affect the way the gums and tissues are going to fight a possible infection.
When some patients who smoke go to the hygienist, they find that their gums don’t bleed that much.
Maybe their hygienist convinces them to stop smoking.
After they have stopped smoking, they find the gums will bleed more and they may even complain about this.
But, in a way, that’s actually a good sign.
It means that something is changing because the patient’s blood vessels are now working in a different way.
Of course, it’s not a good thing that there is bleeding because it means inflammation of the gums.
But at least things are not being masked by this fake “no bleeding” because of smoking.
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