How long after dental implant surgery can I smoke?

How long after dental implant surgery can I smoke?

Can I smoke right after the dental implant procedure? How long after dental implant surgery can I smoke?

If you are a frequent smoker, you might be wondering how many days you should wait before you can smoke. Since the dental implant procedure is a type of oral surgery, you will need to follow your doctor’s guidelines for optimum results and healing period. These guidelines will include habits of eating, drinking, oral hygiene, and smoking.

In this article, you will find the answer to the question ‘how long after dental implant surgery can I smoke’. You will also read up on some tips on how you can manage not smoking during that time.  

Reasons you should not smoke when you get dental implants

Smoking is a habit that can have implications for your dental implant surgery success and cause other oral health issues. The dental implant failure rate appears to be higher in smokers than nonsmokers. 

Studies show that with tooth implants, smoking increases the risk of failure. Heat, nicotine, carbon monoxide, and hydrogen cyanide are risk factors for impaired healing. Thus, they may affect the success rates and complications of oral surgical procedures.

The failure rates of implant procedures because of smoking also vary on the amount of cigarettes patients smoke. A study showed a higher implant failure in heavy smokers (30–40 cigarettes per day) with type IV bone. Another study reported significantly greater marginal bone loss around implants in heavy smokers (>14 cigarettes per day) than in those with low cigarette consumption (<14 cigarettes per day). (You can find the source of these studies in the citations below). 

TimeNon-smoking periodWhy you shouldn’t
Before the procedure1-2 weeksStrengthen the bone density
After the procedure2-3 monthsFor fewer complications and better osseointegration

Smoking Before the Procedure

Despite the information above, smoking is not an absolute contraindication in dental implant surgery. This means that it does not completely prevent a patient from getting implant surgery.

Smoking factors in your dental implant surgery even before the procedure is done. Your dentist will get your medical history first, which includes your smoking history. They will note how long you have smoked, the intensity of the habit, and its impact on your oral health. You will get some directions from your dentist regarding your cigarette use before and after the surgery.

Dentists usually advise you to quit smoking for some time before the surgery. Some dentists might say to quit smoking way before the surgery if you can, but the commonly recommended time is usually 1 to 2 weeks before the implant procedure.  This allows the reversal of the increased levels of platelet adhesion and blood viscosity. 

How long after dental implant surgery can I smoke?

Recovery time, cigarette use, the condition of the teeth and gums all vary from individual to individual. Therefore, the time you will need to wait until you can smoke again will depend on your specific situation. However, we can give you some general information here. It is important to follow your doctor’s guidelines for the best recovery process. Keep the following points in mind for the best results: 

– Stop the use of cigarettes at least 1-2 weeks before the implant surgery. 

– After the surgery, wait for a week before cigarette use. 

– For best osseointegration, stop smoking for at least 2-3 months after the surgery. 

The first few days after the implant surgery

In the first week that follows your implant surgery, you absolutely should not smoke. During this period, your body will produce blood clots at the site of the operation. This will take some time, but it is very important for your healing period. What a blood clot does is, it prevents bacteria from food to enter the wound. 

If you smoke during this time, if you use cigarettes, the smoke you inhale might cause the blood clots to become loose. When they are loose, food and bacteria might enter the operation site and increase infection risk. This can cause a condition called dry socket, which causes intense pain and can hurt your recovery process.

Other complications, such as inflammation of the gums, can occur as well. Since the tissue will be sensitive, any irritant such as cigarette smoke can worsen this condition. If this becomes too painful, make sure to contact your dentist.

Smoking after the first week

If you avoid smoking in the first week of the dental implant surgery, well done! Smoking will risk the success of bone graft and sinus lift operations that are done before dental implant placement.

Some dentists might recommend that you refrain from cigarettes for up to two or three months. This helps increase the success of the surgery with no complications and better implant osseointegration. It allows bone healing to progress to the osteoblastic phase and early osseointegration will be possible. A study suggests that cessation of smoking may reduce detrimental effects, using pre-operative antibiotics and hydroxyapatite-coated implants.

Some tips to help you get through the healing period:

Not smoking for a certain period can be hard on a patient who is an avid smoker. There are some things you can do during this period that can help you cope with not smoking. You might be familiar with these methods already since they are common while quitting smoking.

Nicotine patches: you can use nicotine patches to decrease the withdrawal symptoms from quitting smoking.  

New habits: as cigarette smoking is a habitual activity, if you get a new habit it can take your mind off smoking. You can try chewing gum but avoid nicotine gums. Because the nicotine in these gums will still disrupt the healing of the implant area by slowing down the blood flow. This also means the slowing of the flow of oxygen.  For the same reason, avoid chewing tobacco as well.

Question: ‘Can I smoke e-cigarettes?’

Electronic cigarettes are a common tool that people use to help them not smoke traditional cigarettes. While using electronic cigarettes, smoke does not enter the mouth. Instead, a heating unit vaporizes the liquid from the electronic cigarettes.

But this does not mean that electronic cigarettes are safe to use after dental implant surgery. Similar to nicotine gum and chewing tobacco, e-cigarette vapor still contains nicotine and other chemicals that are harmful to the healing process. The impact of nicotine can still irritate the mouth and disrupt the blood flow in the implant area. Therefore, it is best to avoid them during the healing period of your implant surgery.

You can use electronic cigarettes later on in your recovery if you choose to quit cigarettes and find that they are helpful. Public Health England published a review in August 2015 which found that e-cigarettes are 95 percent less harmful to health than tobacco.

Kasat, V, and R Ladda. “Smoking and dental implants.” Journal of International Society of Preventive & Community Dentistry vol. 2,2 (2012): 38-41. doi:10.4103/2231-0762.109358

Levin L, Schwartz-Arad D. The effect of cigarette smoking on dental implants and related surgery. Implant Dent. 2005 Dec;14(4):357-61. doi: 10.1097/01.id.0000187956.59276.f8. PMID: 16361886.

https://www.click4teeth.com/feature-articles/smoking-and-dental-implants/#Content%206 

https://www.oralsurgeryteam.com/how-many-days-should-i-not-smoke-after-oral-surgery/

https://mytowncenterdental.com/are-you-putting-your-dental-implants-at-risk-by-smoking/

https://hiossen.com/news/smoking-and-dental-implants/#:~:text=How%20long%20it%20takes%20for,from%20getting%20into%20the%20site

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