If you have lost a tooth due to an injury, infection, or a decay condition, then your dentist may indicate a dental implant can be used to replace the tooth. Dental implants act much like the natural teeth, and they contain a solid metal root and a porcelain crown. Surgery is necessary to set the implant root in place, and your dentist will tell you what you need to do to help the gums and bone heal around the implanted root. There are several things you definitely should not do as well, or your implant may fail.
You probably know you should not drink alcohol soon after your oral surgery, because the beverage can thin the blood and cause extensive bleeding around the dental implant. Alcohol can also be dangerous when it is mixed with steroidal pain killers that are commonly prescribed after a dental implant operation.
The Harmful Healing Effects of Alcohol
You may think that it is safe to drink alcohol after the initial implant healing period. This is not wise though, because habitual alcohol use can reduce the amount of white blood cells the body produces. White blood cells are utilized by the body to eliminate bacteria and other foreign intruders from the body. If your body does not produce enough white blood cells, then bacteria may multiply around the gum or bone implant site and an infection may set in.
Alcohol can also stop your body from absorbing enough calcium. This can lead to weak bones and it will also slow down the oseointegration process. Oseointegration occurs when the jaw bone forms new cells around the implant root. These cells adhere to the metal and the implant becomes a permanent part of the jaw. If oseointegration does not occur, then the implant will fail and fall out. This means you should not drink alcohol until your dentist indicates the oseointegration process has completed.
Smoking is another thing you absolutely should not do after a dental implant is secured in your mouth. When you smoke, you cause the blood vessels in your body to constrict. This reduces the flow of blood to your gums and your jaw bone, and oxygen and other nutrients cannot reach the tissues. These nutrients are required to help the tissues heal properly.
The act of smoking also releases a great deal of toxins into your body. Carbon monoxide, ammonia, and cyanide are only a few examples of the 4,000 chemicals that enter the body when you smoke. Your immune and excretory system work hard to remove these toxins from the body. As your body spends time trying to eliminate the harmful substances, it does not extend energy to help your implant wound heal.
You definitely should not smoke after a dental implant operation, and it is wise to quit smoking completely before your operation to reduce cravings and urges to smoke while you heal. Nicotine replacement products may be a good option to help you quit, but you should make sure to reduce your nicotine consumption before your implant operation.
Nicotine is the stimulant in cigarettes that constricts your blood vessels and keeps oxygen from reaching your implant wound. Try using nicotine patches, gum, or an electronic cigarette several months before the implant procedure so you can taper down the amount of nicotine you need to stave off cravings.
You may also want to try quitting smoking altogether. If you do this, then nicotine will be expelled from your system within several days. Make sure to drink plenty of water when you quit though, because your kidneys will need to work continuously to remove the nicotine and other toxins from your body. Water will help your kidneys function properly so the toxins can be removed as quickly as possible.
If you have lost a tooth and need to go through a dental implant operation to replace the tooth, then you need to make sure you do everything you can to ensure the success of the implant. Your dentist will provide you with a list of cleaning techniques and care instructions. You also need to stay away from bad habits like alcohol consumption and smoking.
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