Did you know that dental implants are doubly likely to fail in smokers compared to non-smokers? If you smoke, it's likely that your dentist has told you this sobering fact. However, simply knowing that smoking could double your risk of dental implant failure doesn't necessarily make it any easier to quit. Dentists recommend staying away from tobacco for at least six weeks following dental implant surgery while your implants go through their most vulnerable period of healing. Here are some tips you can use to fight temptation during this challenging time.
1. Be Prepared
Making a plan can improve your chance of successfully avoiding cigarettes during the dental implant recovery period. Before the surgery, throw out your cigarettes, put away ashtrays in your home, and make plans to spend time with non-smoking friends. These steps will help to keep you out of the path of temptation.
2. Get Help From Family and Friends
Friends and family can help keep you accountable while you are trying to abstain from smoking. Let the people you spend the most time with know that you must not smoke for six weeks. If they see you lighting up during this time, they can remind you of the risks to your dental health.
3. Occupy Your Hands and Mind
Many people find themselves reaching for a cigarette out of habit when they are bored or their hands are empty. Distracting yourself with other activities, particularly ones that require you to use both hands, could help you to fight off cravings. Try playing an immersive computer game, learning to play a musical instrument, or painting to tackle the longing to have a cigarette in your hand.
4. Be Careful With Nicotine Replacement Products
Many smokers use nicotine replacement products, such as gum, e-cigarettes, or patches, to help them kick the habit. However, these products could pose a risk for your dental implants, as nicotine reduces blood flow in gum tissue, impeding the healing process. If you must replace the nicotine in cigarettes, dentists recommend choosing a nicotine patch instead of an oral delivery method to reduce exposure of the tissues in your mouth to the drug.
5. Try Anti-Smoking Medications
Nicotine replacement therapy isn't the only medical solution to giving up smoking. Two drugs, known as varenicline and bupropion, can help to reduce nicotine cravings. Talk to your doctor to find out whether one of these medications could be a good option for you.
Ever since I was a little girl, I have loved stories about the past. Whether the stories were about horses, wars, exploration or even dentistry, I loved to hear them. I find that knowing the history of something helps it to make sense and feel approachable. I know that some people have dental anxiety, and I too have suffered, but I also feel like the more you know about dental work and its history, the easier it is. This blog is dedicated to exploring the history of dentistry – What did ancient people use for fillings? How did early dentists numb their patients? Who was the first dentist? Those are just some of the questions I plan to answer here. Ready? Okay, let's dive into the history of dentistry together!