Going to the dentist isn't any fun, but it is one of those things that just has to be done. For years, I fought the process and didn't go for my regular cleanings and in the end, it sure didn't pay to do so. I ended up spending ten times as much time in the chair and a boat-load of money in dental repairs. If you don't like going to the dentist, you can make it easier on yourself. This blog will show you a few tips that can help you improve the experience and get through the treatment without as much discomfort.
Smoking can wreak havoc on your oral health, and if you need an implant, smoking can delay healing time and increase the risk of failure. Luckily, there are ways to lessen the effect smoking has on your implants. Here are some tips and ideas to keep in mind:
1. Tell your dentist you smoke.
Before having any dental work done, make sure that your dentist knows that you smoke. Your dentist can use that information to steer you towards the right treatment, and he or she may be able to provide you with resources on quitting.
2. Consider quitting.
As you know, smoking affects almost every aspect of your health, and for your mouth as well as the rest of your body, you may want to consider quitting. Many smokers have success with hypnosis, meditation, tobacco replacement therapy, and a number of other cessation methods.
3. Quit for a bit.
If you simply aren't ready to quit smoking permanently, consider quitting just for a bit. Research shows that if you don't smoke for a week before the implant placement and for up to 2 months after its placement, you increase the chances of the implant being successful. This strategy helps to eliminate toxins from your mouth prior to the surgery, and it keeps the site of the implant clean while it heals.
4. Consider other options.
An implant is not the only solution for a missing tooth. If your dentist thinks that the smoking may cause the implant to fail, you may want to consider other options such as a bridge or partial dentures. An implant relies on a piece of metal being inserted into and fusing with your jaw bone. If the smoking causes inflammation or damage to the soft tissues in the area around the implant, the bone may not regenerate as needed, and that can lead to failure.
Note that smoking does not definitely keep an implant from healing, and plenty of smokers use implants successfully. There is simply an increased chance of failure compared to non-smokers.
5. Remember placement.
The placement of the implant can also have an impact on the chance of success. In most cases, mandibular implants have a higher rate of success than maxillary implants. The mandibular refers to the lower jaw, while maxilla refers to the upper jaw. Although no one is completely sure about the reasons behind the different success rates in these parts of the mouth, there is an assumption that implants in the lower mandible are protected by the tongue, and that reduces the smoke that reaches those areas.
As a result, you may want to talk with your dentist about implants for missing lower teeth, but you may want to consider alternatives for missing upper teeth.
6. Explore same day extraction and implants.
In some cases, it is possible to have your tooth extracted and the implant placed on the same day. This can lead to a long appointment, but it may help to improve healing. When the implant is placed right away, it decreases the amount of time you have an open wound in your mouth, and that prevents the wound from being exposed to smoke. Talk with your dentist to see if this is an option in your situation.
7. Focus on oral hygiene.
Finally, if you decide to get an implant, make sure that you focus on oral hygiene. If you smoke, brush your teeth or rinse with antiseptic mouthwash after every cigarette, and also be sure to follow any instructions that your dentist gives you.
To learn more about implants or other aspects of oral health and smoking, contact a dentist, such as Richard L. Myers, DDS, directly.