Two Bad Habits You Should Give Up Before Getting Dental Implants
Although dental implants can be successfully placed in the majority of patients, a person's oral habits can affect the implants' longevity. To ensure your implants provide years of trouble-free use, here are two bad habits you should break before getting them:
Most people who smoke already know it's not good for their overall health. According to the Center for Disease Control, six million people die each year from smoking, and another 16 million in America have been diagnosed with a disease caused by this bad habit. If you smoke, the cosmetic dentist will typically recommend you stop because it can make it more difficult to place implants and cause them to fail later on.
Smoking—specifically the nicotine in cigarettes—can hurt your oral health in a couple of ways. First, nicotine is a vasodilator that causes blood vessels to constrict. This can make it difficult for blood, which carries nutrients and white blood cells, to get to the implant site. This can reduce healing times and increases the risk you'll get an infection.
Second, the actual act of smoking also damages oral tissues, which is why people who don't smoke cigarettes but indulge in cannabis should also stop in the months before and after getting implants. The heat from the smoke burns oral tissues, and the smoke itself can block salivary glands, which may lead to a condition called "dry mouth". This can also increase your chances of getting an infection at the implant site because saliva is necessary for washing away food particles and bacteria.
Although it may be difficult, stopping smoking will increase the chances your implant survives as well as improve your overall health.
Chewing on Non-Food Items
Another habit you should give up is chewing on non-food items (e.g. fingernail, pen caps) and using your teeth as tools. Tooth implants are made from a material designed to replicate the strength of your natural teeth. However, like your natural teeth, they're only designed to chew food. Consistently chewing on or using your teeth to manipulate hard objects can lead to micro-cracks that eventually turn into large cracks and chips. In some cases, you may even damage your jaw bone, which may lead to the implant loosening and falling out.
There are many tools available that can help you stop chewing on non-food items. For nail biters, for instance, there's a special nail polish that contains a bitter-tasting agent designed to keep you from putting your fingers in your mouth. Discuss the issue with the dentist or your healthcare provider to determine the best treatment option for you.
For more information about these issues or to discuss dental implants, contact a cosmetic dentist like Oral Surgery Associates Inc.