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All About Implants

My teeth were starting to deteriorate, and I was running out of options to repair them. The dentist gave me a choice. I could wait until the bone loss was so bad that I would have to have my teeth removed and get dentures, or I could have them removed now and get dental implants. I opted for the implants. If you’re thinking of getting dental implants, you probably have a lot of questions. I love mine, but they took some getting used to. In this blog, I’m sharing my experience and all the information that I picked up throughout my implant experience. You can find out what the procedure entails, how to prepare for your implants, and how to care for them once they’re in.


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All About Implants

Why Dentists Caution Against Tobacco Use

by Alfredo Moore

Smoking isn't just bad for your lungs; the habit can have harmful effects on your overall health—including your oral health. Besides bad breath and teeth that are stained yellow or brown, smoking can lead to several potentially serious oral health problems. That's why it's important to be aware of the significant risks that tobacco use poses to your oral health.

1. Risk for Gum Disease

Tobacco use—whether from cigarettes, cigars, pipe tobacco, or chewing tobacco—increases the risk for gum disease. The more you smoke and the longer you smoke are factors that increase your risk for developing gum disease even more. Smoking weakens your immune system; therefore, your body has a harder time fighting off gum inflammation or infection that occurs.

Gum disease may also progress faster if you smoke. When left untreated, periodontitis can progress to the point that the infection damages the soft tissue and bone that hold your teeth in place. Eventually, tooth loss can occur.

If you smoke, schedule regular dental exams so that your dentist can monitor your gum health. But even if he or she catches gum disease early, continuing to smoke can slow the healing process, making treatment more difficult and less likely to succeed.

2. Risk of Jawbone Deterioration and Loss

Both men and women who smoke tend to have weaker bones. The nicotine and other toxins in tobacco produce free radicals that damage cells in the body. Toxic chemicals in tobacco also have an adverse effect on the body's hormonal balance. For example, smoking increases the levels of the hormone cortisol in the body, causing bone and muscle loss.

Another problem is that nicotine and free radicals kill osteoblasts—the cells that form bone. However, if your dentist knows that you smoke, along with encouraging you to quit smoking, he or she can watch for early signs of bone loss. Gum disease, tooth loss, and loose dentures can be signs of bone loss in the jaw.

3. Risk of Leukoplakia

Smoking and chewing tobacco often cause leukoplakia—an infection that can occur when your immune system is weakened. Symptoms include thick, white or grayish patches that form on your gums, tongue, floor of your mouth, or the inside lining of your cheeks. Although the patches are benign, oral cancers sometimes develop nearby. Therefore, it's important to see your dentist if you notice any changes in your mouth.

4. Risk for Developing Oral Cancer

Tobacco use increases the risk for developing oral cavity and oropharyngeal cancers which can affect the mouth cavity, throat, nose, vocal cords, and esophagus. Frequent tobacco use for a long duration of time increases the risk. While smoking can lead to cancer in the mouth or throat, regular use of chewing tobacco or snuff can cause cancer in the gums, cheeks, and inside of the lips.

While kicking the tobacco habit is the best way to protect your both your oral and general health, just cutting down on how much you smoke can help. If you don't think you can quit on your own, ask your dentist about medications to help you stop smoking.