• October 1, 2015

If you’ve lost teeth and made the great choice to get dental implants we’re guessing you couldn’t be happier with your new teeth. The overwhelming majority of patients who’ve chosen to get dental implants have been thrilled and we’re glad we’ve been able to provide many of those implants at Brandon Family Dentistry!

Implants are the premier tooth replacement method for patients looking for permanent, fixed restorations that act just like the real thing. We can’t recommend them more highly to patients sick of dentures or worried about their long-term oral health! While they are tough they aren’t able to keep your teeth healthy without complications, and those complications are more common in dental implant patients who smoke! We don’t want you to lose your valuable, life-changing investment!

What Smokers With Dental Implants Risk

There are two conditions that occur more often in smokers with dental implants: peri-implant mucositis and peri-implantitis. These conditions are similar to gum disease that surrounds natural teeth and carry much of the same risk!

The problem isn’t unique to tobacco users but, like many other health conditions, tobacco makes it a greater risk. The problem lies in the bacteria that lives naturally in your mouth. We all have it, and it takes the form of plaque – that sticky white stuff that seems to grow each day along your gum line and all over your teeth. You brush it away in the evening but it always comes back!

Plaque contains a mix of bacteria. Some of them are harmless and others can cause serious damage to your teeth and gums! The bad bacteria loves the sugar in foods you eat. When it gets to eat sugar it produces an acid that weakens and eventually destroys the enamel on your teeth, causing the beginnings of tooth decay and cavities!

Studies of smokers have found that the balance of oral bacteria in their mouths is quite different from non-smokers: most of the harmless bacteria is gone and a lot of dangerous stuff exists in its place! This increases the risks of a variety of oral health conditions! For dental implant patients this can mean dangerous, implant-destroying peri-implant diseases!

What Can Peri-Implant Diseases Do?

Both peri-implant mucositis and peri-implantitis are dangerous conditions that can cause the loss of a dental implant, much like gingivitis and gum disease can do to a tooth. These conditions are caused by bacteria that gets below the gum line and starts to grow without your toothbrush or floss to stop them!

Peri-implant mucositis is the early stage of peri-implant disease and is similar to gingivitis. If you’re suffering from this condition you’ll probably see inflammation in the gums around your implants, bleeding when brushing, and a possibility of minor gum recession. At this stage we can still treat, stop, and reverse the damage but quick intervention is necessary! Our Ortonville dentist office offers a wide range of preventive treatments that are perfect for treating peri-implant mucositis!

If mucositis is left untreated it will likely develop into full-blown peri-implantitis. At this stage you might see more gum recession that could reach far enough to make the titanium screw below your crown or bridge visible! The reason this happens is because you’re rapidly losing bone mass in your jaw!

Peri-implantitis occurs when the bacteria below your gumline starts attacking your jawbone. This causes loss in bone mass, reduction in your gumline, and potential loss of your implant! A dental implant is strong but it isn’t tough enough to stay in place without bone to support it! At this stage it can be hard to restore a dental implant. Surgical intervention including bone reconstruction and gum augmentation may be necessary – a high cost to pay for smoking and poor oral hygiene!

Preventing Peri-Implant diseases

You can probably guess what’s coming next: you should really stop smoking! While smoking alone isn’t enough to cause peri-implant diseases it greatly increases your risk and eliminating it could do a lot to save your dental implants!

We also highly recommend treating your implants just like real teeth. While they might not be affected by decay they are still vulnerable to diseases that can cause their loss! Proper brushing and flossing habits are essential to maintaining healthy dental implants, as well as seeing us for regular dental cleanings and exams!

Don’t risk the dental implants that brought your smile back – make an appointment at Brandon Family Dental today! You can reach us by phone at 248-469-0218 or you can request an appointment by filling out our online form. We look forward to seeing you soon!