5 Tips to Avoid Smoking Before and After Dental Implant Surgery

Posted on: 23 June 2016

If you're a smoker, your dental implants are twice as likely to fail and need to be removed than implants placed in a non-smoker. The chemicals in cigarette smoke slow down healing, reduce blood flow to the implant site and increase the risk of infection. The best way to ensure the success of your dental implants is to stop smoking completely, but if that's not an option, stopping for six weeks after your surgery can reduce your risk of infection and dental implant failure. Use these tips to help you quit smoking in advance of your dental implant surgery.

1. Make a Plan

While you wait for your dental implants to be fitted, think about how you will avoid smoking after the surgery. This may involve telling your friends and family that you intend to quit, so they can help and support you. Remove ashtrays from your home and throw away cigarettes so you are not tempted to smoke them.

2. Identify Your Triggers

Before you quit smoking, keep a diary for a few days in which you record the times when you most want a cigarette. Think about how you will combat cravings in these situations. For example, if being with a particular group of friends makes you want to smoke, try to avoid them for a few weeks after your dental implant surgery. If you always crave cigarettes after meals, try going for a walk immediately after you eat to distract yourself from the feeling.

3. Use Nicotine Replacement Therapies With Caution

Nicotine replacement therapies, such as nicotine gum, lozenges, patches and e-cigarettes, have helped many smokers to quit. Note that nicotine in any form can reduce blood flow in your gums, increasing your risk of dental implant failure. If you can't kick the habit without some form of nicotine replacement therapy, use patches rather than gum, lozenges or e-cigarettes to minimise irritation in your mouth. You must let your dentist know that you are using nicotine replacement therapy when discussing any form of cosmetic dentistry treatment.

4. Use an Anti-Smoking Medication

Your doctor can prescribe a medication that reduces your cravings for nicotine. Two options include bupropion (also known as Zyban) and varenicline (Chantix). Discuss these medicines with your doctor and dentist to find out if one of them would be suitable for you.

5. Keep Your Hands Busy

Some smokers like to smoke while watching television because it gives them something to do with their hands. Keep your hands busy by knitting, playing with a tennis ball or painting your fingernails to prevent them reaching for a cigarette. 

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