Exploring Oral Health Symptoms, Issues and Solutions

Can You Have All-on-4 Dental Implants If You Smoke?

If you need to have your natural teeth replaced by dentures, you may be considering using All-on-4 dental implants to fix your teeth into place. Like single implants, an All-on-4 procedure inserts implant posts into your jaw bone to hold false teeth. However, rather than having a post for each tooth, you'll have four posts on each of your arches to hold all your teeth. If you're worried about wearing regular dentures and want a more natural solution, this can be a good option.

However, if you're a smoker, your dentist may be less happy to recommend using All-on-4 implants to hold your false teeth. Why is your habit a problem and what can you do about it?

How Smoking Affects Implants

For an implant to work, the post you have inserted into your bone needs to embed over time. Problems such as oral bacteria, impaired healing or infections can affect this process. In the worst case scenario, implant posts may fail to bond with your bone and may become unstable or fall out.

While dental implants work well for most people, they all come with a chance of failure. This chance of failure increases if you smoke. For example, one implant study found that the general rate of failure for implants is 1.4 percent; smokers have an increased risk of 15.8 percent.

Smoking can have various adverse effects on your oral health. For example, your habit affects the blood flow in your mouth. An impaired blood flow around your implant site may affect your healing time and ability to heal; it may also make you more prone to developing infections.

As well as worrying about your general oral health if you smoke, this increased chance of implant failure is likely to make your dentist advise you to give up smoking before an All-on-4 procedure to maximise your chances of success.

What If You Can't Quit?

Giving up smoking is easier said than done. If you can't quit and your dentist agrees to give you an All-on-4 treatment, you may be advised to try to stop smoking or to cut right back at particular times during your treatment cycle. For example, it helps a lot to not smoke for a week or so before implant insertion and for a couple of weeks afterwards. This helps get your blood flow working better and protects your implants during the initial healing process.

Your dentist can also give you after-care advice after your All-on-4 implants are inserted. For example, your dentist may prescribe a course of antibiotics immediately after surgery to ward off any possible infections; you may also be asked to rinse with salt water to help the wound sites heal.  If you're still smoking, it's vital to closely follow this advice to help promote healing on the implant sites and to reduce the risk of implant failure.