How Does Smoking Affect Extractions and Implants?

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Continue reading to learn how smoking affects extractions and implants.

Extractions

When a tooth is removed from the mouth, it leaves behind the empty socket in the gum and bone where the tooth once was. In most cases, this socket is not stitched up, as it will close and heal on its own.

Inside the socket, a blood clot forms to begin the healing process and protect the wound. When you smoke, the suction in the mouth has the potential to dislodge the blood clot and expose the wound. In many cases, this may cause the extraction site to begin to bleed again, and leaves the wound susceptible to infection or to drying out. When the extraction site dries out, this is known as dry socket, which can be extremely painful. In many cases, individuals with a dry socket feel the pain radiating throughout their face and jaw.

There is also the issue of the chemicals that enter the mouth while smoking. Nicotine is a stimulant, and thus has the potential to lead to increased inflammation or bleeding. It also lowers the amount of oxygen in the blood, which plays a large role in ensuring that an injury properly heals.

Cigarette smoke also has the potential to block or damage the salivary glands, which can be another contributing factor for dry socket.

Dental Implants

After a dental implant has been placed in the mouth, it is crucial to maintain a healthy environment for the implant to heal. Smoking slows down the healing process considerably, which can make it extremely difficult to get accustomed to the implant.

As previously mentioned, the chemicals in cigarette smoke are damaging, which can cause the

mouth to become dry due to a blocked or damaged salivary gland. In turn, the gums and bone that surround the implant become weak. This puts the implant at an increased risk for failure, as it will not have a sturdy environment to fuse to in the mouth.

Clinical trials have proven that smokers face a higher risk of osseointegration failure, in which the bone simply fails to fuse with the implant, causing it to fail.

How to Prevent Complications

The best thing you can possibly do to prevent complications with your extractions or implants is to quit smoking. Of course, this is not possible for everyone, so it is recommended that you refrain from smoking for at least a week at the minimum. Many dental professionals recommend refraining from smoking for a month or two in order to ensure that the implant is able to successfully heal without complications caused by smoking. After you smoke, be sure to brush your teeth. It is also extremely important to ensure that you are returning to your dentist’s office for your regular check-ups and cleanings.

Looking for more information about extractions and implants in San Jose? Give Willow Glen Dental Specialists a call at (408) 478-9081.

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