If you smoke marijuana, the first thing your dentist will tell you when you go to a consultation for dental implants is to stop. This is because the act of smoking can impede the healing process and increase the risk your dental implants will fail. As a counter to this, many patients ask whether it's okay to consume marijuana edibles while undergoing the procedure. It's probably not a good idea, and here are two reasons why.
Marijuana Causes Dry Mouth
In general, eating marijuana is safer for your dental implants than smoking it. The heat from a cannabis cigarette can damage gums, and the act of smoking creates a vacuum in the mouth that can pull the blood clot out of the empty space left behind after a tooth was removed (leading to dry socket) as well as loosen newly placed implants. This is something you typically don't have to worry about when consuming edibles.
However, one significant side effect of marijuana use—regardless of how you consume it—is dry mouth. This is because the submandibular glands where the salivary glands are located have cannaboid receptors that are negatively affected by the drug. Researchers believe that when people use marijuana, these receptors are activated and block the salivary glands' ability to produce moisture.
Regular use of marijuana can lead to chronic dry mouth, which can reduce healing times and increase your chances of developing an infection that may cause your dental implant to fail. Saliva helps wash away harmful bacteria. When there isn't enough saliva, bacteria is given free rein to grow and invade vulnerable areas in the mouth.
There are many things you can do to counteract dry mouth, such as use a medicated mouthwash and chew sugar-free gum, but it really is just easier and less expensive to avoid using cannabis until your implants have fully healed.
There May Be Harmful Drug Interactions
Another reason why you may want to stop using marijuana when getting dental implants is it's unknown how cannabis will interact with other medications you may be prescribed. For instance, placing implants generally involves putting patients under anesthesia. You may need higher doses of anesthesia to achieve the same effect if you regularly use cannabis. Marijuana also dilates the blood vessels (causes them to open), which can lead to an unsafe drop in blood pressure if you use the drug prior to undergoing the surgery.
Again, it's best to avoid using the drug while getting dental implants. If you choose to partake or must use it to treat another medical problem, be upfront with the dentist about your usage so he or she can take proper precautions.
For more information about this issue or to schedule an appointment to get implants, contact a local dentist, like one from South Sound Family Dental & Dentures.