blog | September 5, 2014 – San Francisco, CA
Can Smokers Get Dental Implants?

Most people would agree that smoking is not good for you. Statistics show that smokers die an average of 14 years earlier than non-smokers, and very often in ways which are not pleasant. One in five smokers will die as a direct result of the habit.

However, it is not just the fact that you will miss out on 14 Christmases and birthdays; smoking can do considerable damage to your teeth. Not only will it stain your teeth and make your breath smell foul, it can have a serious effect on your gums and jawbone. While we strongly encourage all smokers to quit as soon as possible, we get quite a few inquiries in our San Francisco office about whether smokers can get dental implants. The answer is ‘it depends.’

Visit San Francisco Dental Implant Center
You need to come in for a full, initial consultation to evaluate your oral health, and then we can decide on a best plan of action for you. Since we are conveniently located near BART, you can take BART in from Oakland, Pleasanton, or Fremont, or you can take Caltrain up from Peninsula cities like San Mateo or Palo Alto. Wherever you are in the San Francisco Bay Area, our office is convenient – by BART, Caltrain, or even Car. But back to smoking and dental implants.

Smokers and Dental Implants: NOT a Match Made in Heaven

Irritates Gum Tissue
Smoking irritates gum tissue and will reduce blood flow to the gums. This can cause damage that can result in the gums receding from the teeth. In a mouth that is healthy, the gums stay tight around the base of the tooth, providing protection to the roots. When the gums draw away from the tooth it leaves the roots unprotected and subject to decay. What is worse is that food particles can get trapped in pockets under and around the roots, which become a haven for bacteria which just love to feed on them. The tooth will also become very sensitive to hot and cold liquids and foods.

It Gets Worse
It gets worse. As the gum conditions worsen and the growth of bacteria increases, it will lead to bad breath, bigger cavities, infections, mouth ulcers and increased growth of plaque. When plaque remains in the mouth for any length of time it will cause the development of biofilm on the teeth, which is a hard bacterial coating that is not removed by brushing. Plaque eventually hardens into tartar, which is a layer on the teeth and gums not unlike cement. Tartar simply makes the gum situation worse, and can cause bleeding and pain.

Furthermore, smoking may also cause an inflammation of the salivary glands together with bone loss in the jaw. It is also the case that smokers are more likely to suffer from oral cancer.

There is a possibility that an unhealthy mouth can contribute to other diseases in the rest of the body. Researchers are finding connections between poor oral health and inflammation, and other infections. It is now thought that heart disease, respiratory diseases, and arthritis may be connected with bacteria introduced orally.

How does this affect the opportunity for smokers to enjoy all the benefits of dental implants? It is true that some smokers may not be suitable patients for dental implants, but fortunately, in most cases smokers can have dental implants inserted in the same manner as non-smokers.

Dental implants are so far advanced from dentures that they might be described as comparing a Ferrari to a push bike. They are inserted into the jawbone itself and become a fixture, so that not only do you benefit from a wonderful smile again, rather than having to hide your teeth in shame, but they do not slip about when you are eating. It may be that with dental implants you can enjoy once again eating foods that you may not have been able to taste for 30 years or more.

Initial Consultation: As a Smoker do you Qualify for Dental Implants?

In order to find out if you qualify for dental implants, you can obtain a dental implant consultation at San Francisco Dental Implant Center. Located on Sacramento Street, you can call our office to see if you are a suitable candidate on (415) 992-9188.