Dental Implants and Vaping: Does It Impact Your Implants?

by | Mar 18, 2024

Vaping has grown exponentially in popularity, especially among young people. In the United States, 4.5% of all adults choose to vape instead of smoking cigarettes.[1] Although vaping is safer than smoking, it can still lead to all manner of health issues, including problems with oral health. In particular, dental implants and vaping can be a harmful combination.

If you vape regularly and have recently gotten or are planning to get dental implants, it is essential to know how this practice affects your implants. Learn more about vaping and oral health in this guide.

Understanding Dental Implants: What They Are and Who Needs Them

Dental implants are artificial tooth roots made of titanium that are implanted directly into the jaw. They are essentially metal screws that hold an abutment and a dental crown. They are an excellent option for people who have one or more missing teeth as a result of:

  • Tooth decay
  • Gum disease
  • Tooth root fracture
  • Facial injury
  • Congenitally missing teeth

Getting dental implants involves oral surgery. During dental implant surgery, your surgeon administers local anesthesia to numb your gum tissue before cutting into the gum where the implant will go. This gives them access to the jaw bone, into which they insert the implant.

Most of the time, you’ll need to wait a few months for the implant to heal and settle before receiving the dental crown. During this healing phase, you will likely wear a temporary crown.

Dental Implants and Vaping: Why They Shouldn’t Mix

Smoking and vaping can both be harmful to the success of dental implants. Although vaping contains less nicotine than cigarettes, it still sends nicotine into your body. The chemicals in cigarettes of any kind, including e-cigarettes, can hinder the process of osseointegration. This is the way bone grows into and around the implant to support it. If osseointegration doesn’t occur correctly, the implant fails.

It’s important to note that implants have a significantly higher failure rate for people who smoke than for those who don’t.[2] Vaping also complicates the healing process because vaping products contain nicotine. Nicotine inhibits oxygen and blood flow throughout the body. The implantation site can’t heal correctly without a healthy supply of both. This also leads to dental implant failure.

Another issue with vaping is that it can cause tissue recession. This puts you at further risk of implant failure because the recession exposes tooth-supporting structures and tooth roots. Not only can tissue recession cause the implant to fail, but it can put you at risk of developing infections as well.

Gum disease is particularly tricky. It can lead to a condition called peri-implantitis, which is the leading cause of implant failure and could result in bone loss around the implant.[3]

Nicotine also harms gingival fibroblasts, cells forming connective tissues around your teeth. If your body can’t develop these tissues effectively, it can’t support the implant as needed.

Vaping and smoking also harm osteoblasts, which are the cells that promote bone regeneration. Keep in mind that even nicotine-free vaping options impair osteoblast growth.[4]

Yet another adverse effect of vaping is dry mouth. Your oral health depends on having a healthy amount of saliva because saliva is a natural mouthwash. It helps to protect your teeth while neutralizing acids in the mouth. If you don’t have enough saliva, your mouth can accumulate excess bacteria, resulting in bad breath, tooth decay, and gum disease.

Caring for Implants if You Vape

If you vape and are getting or have already gotten dental implants, knowing how to care for the implants can make a difference in their success. The proper implant care involves stopping the use of a vape for a month before and a month after the implantation. If that’s not possible, you want to focus on your brushing and flossing routines.

It would be best to brush your teeth at least twice a day for a minimum of four minutes and floss twice daily. Make sure to floss gently around the implants using a special floss that will be provided. You can also add a mouthwash to your routine.

In addition, you want to ensure that you’re keeping your mouth hydrated if you have dry mouth issues. Drink lots of water throughout the day and avoid drinks packed with sugar. They can increase the bacteria in your mouth and lead to tooth decay.

It’s essential also to add nutritious and crunchy foods to your diet. Options like sliced apples, carrots, and celery all stimulate your jaw to create more bone cells and heal around the implant. These foods stimulate saliva as well. However, you will introduce them gradually after your implant placement. Your periodontist will give you specific instructions.

Keep Your Dental Implants Safe With the Right Guidance

People with missing teeth can benefit significantly from dental implants — but only if the implants don’t fail. Vaping and smoking make the healing process more difficult, so you should abstain or reduce the habit to maintain good oral hygiene.

At Dental Implants & Periodontal Health of Rochester, we offer the guidance you need throughout the entire process of getting dental implants. Contact us today by calling 585-685-2005 to learn more about dental implants.

 

Sources:

[1] https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/basic_information/e-cigarettes/about-e-cigarettes.html

[2] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3894084/

[3] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3612185/

[4] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8097983/

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