Smoking can harm the integrity of dental implants and cause them to fail more than in a non-smoker, according to a new study that appeared in the February issue of the Journal of Periodontology (JOP). Researchers from University of Murcia in Spain investigated if smoking impacts the ability of a dental implant to succeed. They found that smoking is a risk factor with regard to tooth loss and dental implant failure.

“People who smoke are at a greater risk of infection following surgery, and may heal more slowly,” said Dr Arturo Sanchez Perez, Department of Periodontology at the University of Murcia. “When an implant is placed in a smoker, it is more likely to fail. This means a patient's smile may be negatively affected, and there is potential for more bone loss in the areas surrounding the gums and teeth.”

Smoking negatively affects blood flow to the bone and tissues surrounding the gums and teeth, which impairs bone healing. Implants fail because of a failure to integrate with the surrounding bone tissues. The study followed 66 patients over 5 years, who received 165 implants. They found that 15.8% of implants failed in smokers, versus 1.4% of implants in non-smokers.