Friday, June 5, 2009

Smoking is hazardous to your dental health

The majority of my patients with serious periodontal disease are tobacco users. Interestingly enough, the use of tobacco also causes difficulty in treating these people as they will not heal as well following any procedure involving the tissues. In fact they also have a harder time getting numb, and have more post treatment sensitivity. This has something to do with the way the chemicals in tobacco affect the microcirculation, and the nervous system. Tobacco users will have more dry sockets after an extraction, slower healing and more post operative pain.

The stain caused by tobacco on teeth is extremely difficult to remove and usually requires extensive scraping with hand instruments as well as ultrasonic cleaning, and a prophyjet. We have to allow extra time to clean a smoker's teeth. It also takes longer to chart the mouth as they will have more gum pockets, and the areas are more sensitive to the periodontal measuring. Often topical anesthetic is needed to take the periodontal readings.

We all know the bad breath generated by tobacco use. A good dental cleaning will not remove this odor as it is imbedded in the tongue and other tissues.

In addition, Tobacco users have a much higher incidence of oral cancer as well as heart disease and lung disease.

Just my 2 cents worth

Phillip C. Neal DDS

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About Me

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Born in the Midwest. Married with 6 children and 3 grandchildren. Attended Maine West High School, Harper Jr College, Northern Illinois University, the University of Illinois College of Dentistry. Practice in Crystal Lake, Illinois.