Dental Implants are a modern treatment option for replacing missing teeth. Small titanium posts are surgically implanted into your jawbone to support the crowns that replace the visible surfaces of your missing teeth. Dental implants offer numerous incredible benefits over traditional treatment options including stability, comfort, and the preservation of your jawbone. While implants have a 98% success rate, there are certain factors that can greatly increase your chances of implant failure. One of the major factors that contribute to implant failure is smoking.

What is Implant Failure?

After implants are placed, your jawbone typically begins to fuse to the posts. This fusion, called osseointegration, stabilizes the posts within your jaw, creating strong, secure supports for your replacement teeth. However, if the bone does not properly fuse to the posts, or does not fuse at all, this creates loose, unstable implants that cannot provide the necessary support. Called implant failure, this can happen at any time, whether during the healing process or even years after the implants have been placed.

Smoking and Recovery Time

Cigarettes contain several hundred chemicals. These chemicals limit the amount of oxygen in your blood. The carbon monoxide you inhale also causes fat to build up on the walls of your arteries, restricting the flow of blood. Both of these factors deprive your jawbone and your gum tissue of essential nutrients required for proper healing. With slower healing, your risk for implant failure significantly increases.

Medication Interference

Often after implant surgery, you are prescribed antibiotics to help prevent the development of infections while you heal. If you smoke, the chemicals in cigarettes can interfere with these medications, drastically reducing their effectiveness.

Gum Disease Risk Increases

Gum disease is a serious oral health issue that affects not only the health of your gums but the health of your jawbone and the stability of your teeth and implants as well. Even if all of your teeth have been replaced with dental implants, gum disease can still occur as a result of plaque and bacteria built up on the surfaces of your ceramic crowns. Brushing and flossing are essential for eliminating this buildup, but your immune system also plays an important role. The immune system allows your body to fight off bacterial infection. Smoking, however, interferes with your immune system, lowering the ability of your body to fight infection. Additionally, those who smoke are more likely to have poor oral hygiene practices.

Dry Socket

Dry socket is a condition that occurs when the clots in your surgical wounds become dislodged. When you smoke, the act of inhaling can cause this to occur. Dislodged clots leave an open wound, which can then collect bacteria, food particles, and other debris. This buildup can then lead to serious pain, infection, and implant failure.


Dental implants rely on the fusion of your jawbone to the posts for success. Smoking weakens your jawbone, which makes it more difficult for your bone to fuse properly. This is because smoking not only causes inflammation in your gum tissue but in your bone as well. The inflammation of your bone is also called peri-implantitis, which is also the leading cause of implant failure.

Lowering Your Risk of Implant Failure

Quitting smoking can greatly reduce your risk of implant failure. Quitting for good is ideal, but if you are unable to, it is highly recommended that you quit for a time before your procedure begins all the way through until you have fully healed. It is also essential that you maintain a good oral hygiene routine that includes daily brushing and flossing as well as twice yearly professional cleanings and exams. If you are interested in learning more about dental implants, and finding out if they are the ideal solution for your needs, call Southern Arizona Periodontics today at 520-809-7703.