It is well-known that tobacco use is a health hazard. Chewing or smoking tobacco can lead to problems in the lungs and throat, and it is infamous in its role as a carcinogen (meaning that it causes cancer). Next to that, dental health may seem unimportant; but it is yet another reason to avoid tobacco use.
One of the more serious dental concerns that can occur in dental patients is periodontitis. Periodontitis causes the degradation of the soft gum tissue as well as the bone structure in the upper and lower jaws which support the teeth. When these supporting structures are compromised, this leads to bleeding, pain, irritation and inflammation in the short term, and loose teeth, pocketing, and eventually loss of teeth in the long term. When the first signs of periodontitis occur, it is critical to see Dr. Silberg, a qualified periodontist who can evaluate your condition and begin treatment as soon as possible.
Tobacco use greatly increases the risk of periodontitis. In fact, studies have shown that those who smoke are at least three times more likely to develop soft gum deterioration, and that bone loss was up to five times more severe than in the cases of those who never smoked.
Because of the oral dryness caused by smoking, infection is also more likely to occur, and therefore the healing process can be prolonged and complicated. The chemicals in cigarette smoke cause deterioration to the lining of the mouth, and prevent the natural flora within the mouth from protecting it as they usually would. Even when advanced periodontitis is surgically treated, the treatment often fails because of these factors, resulting in the loss of teeth and an unstable environment for replacements such as dental implants.
If you smoke or chew tobacco, be sure to visit your Pittsburgh periodontist to evaluate the health of your bones and gum tissue, and to discuss how you can treat or prevent the bone loss associated with periodontitis. Pittsburgh periodontist Dr Silberg and our team here at The Silberg Center for Dental Science are qualified and experienced in the treatment of gum disease in patients who use or have used tobacco. Please contact us or stop by today to discuss your options and to get you on your way to a speedy recovery and a strong, healthy smile.