Dr Nigel Jones reveals the impact of smoking on dental implants following government pledge to end smoking by 2030

The UK government has recently pledged to end smoking in England by 2030 in a bid to tackle preventable ill health. Targets in Scotland and Wales have also been put in place.

How common is smoking in 2019?

In 1974, almost half of UK adults smoked. Long before the smoking ban of 2007, smoking in homes, pubs and the workplace was part of everyday living. In 2019, the overall percentage of smokers in the UK has dropped to 15% with government plans to end the habit altogether by 2030.

What effect does smoking have on dental implants?

At Premium Dental Implants, we care about you and your dental health. Our leading Dental Implantologist Dr Nigel Jones, recently told ASH Wales about the impact of smoking on dental health and more specifically, its effect on dental implants – a modern treatment involving a small surgical procedure to permanently replace lost teeth.

“The main way in which smoking affects dental health is that nicotine reduces blood-flow within existing blood vessels, and the formation of new blood vessels.

“Smokers take three times as long to recover from wounds, and therefore have three times as many infections.

“Major studies by Bain in 2002 and Albreksson in 2015 demonstrate that smokers have two to three times as many dental-implant failures as non-smokers.”

How is the UK working to help smokers quit?

The UK has recently introduced various policies that have played an integral role in helping many smokers quit and discouraged others from starting.

In addition to the indoor smoking ban enforced over a decade ago, the minimum purchasing age has been increased to 18 and cigarette taxes have grown to over 80% of the retail cost.

Whilst England plan to ban smoking by 2030, Wales is targeting a 16% smoking rate by 2020 with Scotland aiming for a ‘tobacco-free’ generation by 2034.

Dental implants are the only permanent solution to tooth loss and are a fantastic option when you have lost teeth. They can replace both the aesthetic and functional abilities of a real tooth. However, if you are considering dental implants whilst continuing to smoke, this will increase the risk of infection after the dental implant procedure and could potentially impact the longevity of the implants.

“Smokers have three times as many infections. We try to lessen the effects of smoking by burying the implants and not immediately putting temporary teeth onto them, but it’s still a more risky procedure,” explains Nigel.

“You either accept the increased risks posed to dental implants by smoking and the responsibility for fastidious cleaning: or you give up smoking.”

Whilst much fewer people smoke now than in previous years, there remains an estimated seven million smokers in the UK.

If you need any advice about how to quit smoking, visit the NHS help to quit website: https://bit.ly/2GYyo7W.