How Your Drinking Habits Can Affect Your Dental Implant

27 October 2020
 Categories: Dentist, Blog

It's extremely unwise to do certain things when you're under the influence of alcohol. It can be dangerous to do things such as driving a car and swimming, and it's not a great idea to send drunk texts. But the intoxication fades as your blood alcohol concentration subsides, and then it's back to normal. Of course, the cumulative effects of alcohol consumption can have significant effects on your overall health, and this includes your dental health. In fact, alcohol consumption can play a role in the success of dental implants. So how does drinking alcohol affect dental implants?

Alcohol in the Bloodstream

Regardless of their prior drinking habits, anyone who receives a dental implant will receive a stern warning to avoid alcohol in the days after implant placement. This can include the direct consumption of alcohol, but it can even include using mouthwashes that contain alcohol or ingesting any type of product that might contain alcohol. This is because alcohol in your bloodstream can impede blood cell formation, which is crucial in the hours and days immediately after implant placement. Without efficient blood cell formation and the necessity of this formation to heal damaged tissue after installation of the implant, the implant can fail to stabilize, meaning that the procedure will be unsuccessful. 

Avascular Necrosis

The presence of alcohol after trauma to your dental tissues (which is an unavoidable aspect of dental implant placement) can hamper your body's ability to regenerate lost or damaged tissue to the point that avascular necrosis can become a possibility. This is when your body's inability to form the necessary blood cells to reverse the trauma is so severe that the bone actually begins to die. Treatment will be necessary, and this can include bisphosphonates, a type of medication that can reverse the loss of bone density. Alcoholism is a risk factor for avascular necrosis. 

Heavy Alcohol Consumption

So while avoiding alcohol in the days after implant placement is extremely important, the cumulative effect of heavy alcohol consumption can influence your chances of a successful dental implant. Heavy drinkers can be at risk of avascular necrosis, even when they abstain from alcohol in the days after receiving a dental implant. The process by which the implant fuses to the surrounding bone tissue is known as osseointegration, and this can take several months to be completed. It can be helpful to abstain from alcohol altogether during this process if you're unable to moderate your consumption. You should also discuss your alcohol intake with your dentist prior to receiving the implant, allowing them to be fully aware of any potential complications.

Alcohol and dental implants are two things that shouldn't go together, so be sure to consider your level of alcohol consumption when you're thinking about dental implants.