If You Smoke, Take a Break for Dental Treatments
Over the years, I’ve treated patients for a multitude of oral health problems. I’ve treated smokers as well as non-smokers.
What has always struck me is not the difference in oral health rates between these two groups. You can find all the data you want about those differences through the ADA or the AAP.
What has always struck me is how much slower smokers are to heal from oral surgery than non-smokers.
My patients come to me from all walks of life, each with his or her own oral health challenges (whether hereditary or born from lifestyle choices). In the large majority of cases, I can treat their issues (from tooth loss, to gum recession, to advanced, degenerative periodontal disease).
But what I require my patients, who smoke, to do before I treat them surgically is to take a break from smoking. The reason is that the chemicals from tobacco slow healing and in some cases can actually increase the tartar and bacterial count so much so that it prevents healing and causes infection to spread – making surgery more risky than it would normally be.
So if you use tobacco products, including cigars, cigarettes, pipes, chew and even cloves, and you are considering oral surgery of any kind, plan to take a break for a few weeks prior to and following surgery to ensure complete healing and successful surgery.