Heavy smoking negatively affects bone healing around implants, study says

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

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A recent study by a team at Xi'an Jiaotong University in China has shown that heavy smoking can be detrimental to bone healing following implant surgery. Researchers from the University's First Affiliated Hospital concluded that while heavy smoking does not necessarily cause implants to fail, it does increase healing time.

The study’s goal was to evaluate implant stability in heavy smokers receiving implants to the lower jaw. Previous studies have shown that the success rate of mandibular implants was often adversely affected by heavy smoking. There were 32 patients in the study, aged 25–65, all of whom required dental implants. They were divided into non-smokers and heavy smokers. The heavy-smoking group were defined as those who smoked at least 20 cigarettes a day and who had been smoking for at least 10 years.

The researchers observed that implant stability decreased during the first two weeks following surgery for both groups of patients. After the second week, the non-smokers’ implants began to show signs of stabilisation. However, it wasn’t until after the third week that the smokers’ implants started to become more stable and integrate into the lower jaw.

Although all of the implants could be considered successful, the heavy smokers experienced further problems later on. These included greater bone loss around the implants and larger soft-tissue pockets when compared to non-smokers.

The study concluded that while smoking did not seem to affect the overall osseointegration of an implant, it did decrease healing speed. The researchers suggest that dentists should adapt their treatment schedule when treating patients who are heavy smokers. The study was published in the Journal of Oral Implantology.