Two Reasons You Shouldn't Smoke Marijuana While Getting Dental Implants

Dentist Articles

It's a well-known fact that smoking cigarettes can have a harmful effect on dental implants, which is why dentists typically recommend people avoid smoking in the weeks before and after having the procedure. Even though a little over 158 million people worldwide use marijuana, it's not as well-known that smoking cannabis can also be harmful to dental implants. Here are two reasons why you should avoid using marijuana when undergoing an implant procedure.

Increased Risk of Periodontal Disease

Periodontal disease is one of the primary reasons for dental implant failure. This is an oral condition characterized by bleeding, painful gums; loss of bone; and the increased prevalence of cavities. The bacteria that take up residence in the mouth as a result of this disease can inhibit bone growth or cause such severe inflammation in the gums that the implant has to be pulled or simply falls out.

According to a study conducted in New Zealand, marijuana use increases a person's risk of developing periodontal disease. The study followed 900 adults starting at the age of 18, 20 percent of whom were heavy marijuana users. The study found people who smoked cannabis were 60 percent more likely to develop periodontal disease by the time they turned 32 than people who didn't use the drug.

The reason for the increased risk remains unclear, but one cause may be that marijuana usage can have a negative impact on the person's oral hygiene. Cannabis is a mind-altering drug that impairs body movement, leads to memory issues, and reduces a person's ability to think and solve problems, and regular usage can lead to long-term mental problems. These issues may impact a person's ability and/or willingness to engage in proper dental care which, in turn, may lead to oral disease.

Not only can this negatively impact the ability of the dental implant post to integrate into the jaw bone, but it can shorten the device's life span. Therefore, if you regularly smoke marijuana, it's critical that you step up your dental hygiene game to keep harmful bacteria at bay and help the implant remain firmly in place for as long as possible.

Damage to Gum and Bone Tissue

The other issue is the actual act of smoking marijuana and some of the chemicals in the drug can damage gum and bone tissue. The smoke from a joint (or bong) has the same impact on the mouth as smoke from a regular cigarette. The heat damages oral tissues and the smoke can lead to dry mouth, both of which can negatively impact implant integration and healing times.

In fact, "cottonmouth" is one of the most well-known side effects of smoking cannabis. That's because there are cannabinoid receptors on the saliva glands. When a substance in marijuana binds to these receptors, it prevents the saliva glands from responding to messages from the nervous system, resulting in dry mouth.

Saliva is a critical component to oral health because it helps wash away leftover food particles and bacteria. The reduced influx of spit makes it easier for bacteria to set up colonies, leading to gum, tooth, and bone damage. You'll need to take steps to keep your mouth moist by ensuring you drink lots of water after smoking marijuana, using a special mouthwash, and chewing sugarless gum to encourage saliva production.

Secondly, a small study on the effects of marijuana smoke on implants placed in Wistar rats found that it had a negative effect on the implant healing times. Although the study was very limited, it does indicate that substances in marijuana may cause the implants to take longer to heal, which increases your risk of infection and dental implant failure.

Lastly, the actual act of smoking causes a small vacuum to temporarily form in the mouth with each drag on the marijuana cigarette. This vacuum can pull on the newly installed implant, impacting its ability to integrate with the jaw bone and possibly causing it to fall out.

In general, dentists typically recommend people avoid smoking 2 weeks prior and 8 weeks after getting the implant, which is a good guideline to follow when it comes to marijuana usage. However, it's best to follow the advice of your dentist after he or she has had a chance to assess your oral health.

For more information about the effect marijuana has on dental implants, contact a dental clinic in your area, such as South Florida Dental Arts.


10 November 2015

Improving My Dental Appointments

After dealing with a few root canals, I realized that it was time to take my dental hygiene a more seriously. I talked with my dentist about what I could do differently, and he was full of great suggestions that would help. He walked me through different ways to brush, floss, and take care of tartar buildup, and it was really amazing to see the difference that it made. I also started taking a fluoride supplement to strengthen my enamel. When I made it to my next appointment, my dentist was blown away with the improvement. This blog is all about improving your dental appointments by keeping your teeth healthier.