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Smoking & Oral Health Risks

Are you a smoker?  Are you familiar with all of the oral health risks that smoking brings along with it? This information may give you the extra incentive that you need to quit today!

It is common knowledge that smoking causes yellow teeth and bad breath, but smoking is also responsible for a number of dental problems as well such as:

  • Receding gums, which leads to increased tooth sensitivity
  • Increased risk of oral and throat cancer
  • Increased risk of tooth decay
  • Increased risk of gum disease
  • Inflammation of the roof of the mouth which can lead to the formation of small lesions

Planning to Undergo Oral Surgery?

If the above reasons aren’t incentive enough to quit, smoking also affects postoperative wound healing following surgical and nonsurgical tooth extractions, routine maxillofacial surgeries, dental implants, and periodontal therapies. The body is not able to recover as quickly because smoke damages cells that are responsible for healing, and smokers have decreased blood flow.

For example, it is really important for patients who need bone grafting for dental implants to have a good blood supply. Smoking has toxins and nicotine which decreases the diameter of blood vessels. Smaller blood vessels aren’t capable of moving toxins and waste quickly away from the surgical site. Not having enough nutrients and oxygen reaching the bone graft and not being able to rid the site of toxins will harm the graft.

Smokers who need to have a tooth extracted or have their wisdom teeth removed, will also have an increased risk of complications. This is because the empty socket(s) will not be able to heal as quickly, which can also increase the chance of getting an infection.

Aside from these complications leading to a very unpleasant experience, smoking essentially makes it more difficult for the dentist or oral surgeon to achieve the desired result. Plus, when you are investing a large sum of money for dental procedures and taking time away from work, you want it to be a success so that you can return to normal activity as soon as possible.

You should seriously consider quitting before, during, and after your procedure until you are properly healed. Hopefully that would also motivate you to kick the habit for good. Why would you want to revert back to something that can cause you these types of problems, as well as a multitude of other health issues? This nasty habit could possibly even cost you your life!

You may know someone who smokes and recovered fine from surgery. (People always seem to find an exception.) That doesn’t guarantee that you would also be as lucky. When you smoke, the RISK of complications has been proven to be significantly higher. Do you really think it’s worth taking that gamble?

Questions about smoking and oral surgery? Call New England Oral & Facial Surgery today!

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