Why Smoking Harms Dental Implants

Orange County Dental Implant Failure, SmokingWhen you have lost teeth, dental implants offer confidence and reliability that is not attainable with other restoration methods, such as dentures. Implants look like natural teeth and stay put, just like real teeth.

But to make the “magic” happen, there is some serious work to be done. Implants are an invasive cosmetic dentistry treatment. During the surgery, a structure that will hold the new prosthetic tooth is embedded in the jaw bone. After the implant and bone have fused, which can take two to six months, extensions and false teeth are attached. This can be done at our Orange County offices.

The ideal candidate for dental implants has good oral health and good overall health, which means smokers have some obstacles to overcome. Because smoking inhibits recovery after surgery, smokers have a higher risk of implant failure. A key step smokers can take is to stop smoking, ideally permanently. If you can’t stop entirely, you should at least stop for a period before and after surgery to improve your chances of a successful implant.

How Smoking Affects Implants

Smokers have a higher post-operative infection rate and tend to heal more slowly, which can cause additional difficulties. Specific issues caused by smoking include:

  • Periodontal Disease - Smoking puts you at greater risk for gum disease, which is the number one cause for tooth loss and dental implant failure. Smokers are not only more likely to suffer from gum disease than nonsmokers, but they are also likely to have more severe gum disease.
  • Peri-implantitis - Smokers are more likely to develop peri-implantitis, which occurs when mucosal pockets form around the dental implant and prevent the implant from bonding with the bone. This can lead to implant failure if not treated. Though non-smokers can suffer from the disease also, smokers tend to be more susceptible and have more severe cases.
  • Infection  - Smoking can increase the risk of infection around an implant and make it more difficult for the body to fight the infection.
  • Complications with Medication - Smoking may interfere with medications, like antibiotics. This increases the risk of infection and implant filature.
  • Slow Recovery - By reducing oxygen to the blood, smoking inhibits the body’s ability to heal. This can make it hard for the jaw bone to fuse around the implant and increase the likelihood of implant failure. Nicotine reduces blood flow in the mouth, which slows healing.

As the above complications show, smoking presents obstacles. Studies show a smoker’s risk of implant failure is two to 10 times greater than a non-smoker.

What You Can Do

You can take the first step to a successful implant now by quitting smoking. The effects of smoking begin to reverse after quitting, improving your chances for a successful implant. If you cannot stop smoking entirely, then you should at least stop smoking for a period before the surgery and throughout the recovery phase.

To find out if you qualify for implants, please call us. We can sit down and discuss your concerns, mapping out any extra steps we can take to improve your chances of success. 

Candidates For Porcelain Veneers

Orange County Porcelain Veneer CandidatesEven if your teeth are perfectly healthy, a chipped or discolored tooth can really put a damper on your smile. At our Orange County cosmetic dentistry practice, we’re committed to helping you achieve the beautiful smile that you deserve. For the multitude of aesthetic flaws that our patients hope to fix, porcelain veneers are often the most effective solution. To see if this treatment may be right for you, consider the following qualifications of a good candidate for porcelain veneers.

Why Get Porcelain Veneers?

Porcelain veneers are able to hide variety of cosmetic problems that cannot be otherwise fixed or addressed. Because they provide an entirely new appearance to the front surface of your teeth, they can mask anything from a misshapen tooth to deep stains. Common candidates for porcelain veneers include patients seeking to correct the following problems:

  • Chipped or cracked teeth
  • Discoloration
  • Stains
  • Worn or eroded teeth
  • Gaps between teeth
  • Crookedness

Some patients are also looking to replace a previous veneer or set of veneers. Whether your veneers have been damaged, worn, or you are simply unhappy with the way they look, we will gladly offer a replacement procedure. 

Requirements for Porcelain Veneers

In general, patients with healthy but cosmetically flawed teeth are good candidates for porcelain veneers. It is important to remember that veneers are only meant as a visual improvement, and therefore cannot restore the health or strength of a tooth. Additional characteristics of a porcelain veneer candidate include:

  • Good overall health: Even though the installation of porcelain veneers is minimally invasive, a patient should be in good health before any dental procedure. Any prevailing infections, especially within the mouth, should be treated beforehand.
  • No cavities or gum disease: Tooth decay and gum disease must be dealt with prior to placement of a porcelain veneer. If any decay develops afterward, the veneer will likely need to be removed for treatment.
  • Fully developed teeth: Veneers are created to complement your teeth’s current size, shape, and alignment. Younger patients must wait to have fully developed, matured teeth in order for porcelain veneers to retain their effectiveness.  
  • Reasonable expectations: For many patients, veneers are an exceptionally realistic cosmetic treatment. However, bear in mind that everyone should expect slightly different results, and no procedure can guarantee perfection. Consult your dentist on what you can expect from porcelain veneers.

Negative Factors

As noted above, any infection or decay can negatively influence one’s candidacy for porcelain veneers. Additional factors that can diminish veneers’ effectiveness are as follows:

  • Severe discoloration: While veneers are a great solution for most discolored teeth, a very dark, widespread discoloration may not be fully concealed. Since porcelain is partially translucent, such color may be visible through it.
  • Silver fillings: Dark fillings could be made partially visible from the erosion of enamel necessary for porcelain veneers. In this case, their color may affect the visual results of your veneer. Silver fillings may be replaced with a tooth-colored composite to improve aesthetic results.
  • Teeth grinding: Patients who grind their teeth, a condition called bruxism, may negatively affect the lifespan of their porcelain veneers.
  • Severe misalignment: Mild crookedness can easily be corrected with veneers; some patients opt for a set of veneers to instantly straighten their smile. However, porcelain veneers should not be used in circumstances where misalignment is severe; in these cases, traditional orthodontics may be a better option. 

Come In for a Consultation

Dr. Dao Kim Pham-Nguyen is an award winning dentist with a wealth of experience in both cosmetic and restorative dentistry. If you would like to explore your options for improving your smile, allow Dr. Dao Kim Pham-Nguyen and her staff to help you make the best decision possible. Schedule a consultation with us today!