Smoking, Tooth Loss, And Dentures
Your years of smoking have finally caught up with you. Even though you quit a few years ago, you had already done too much damage to your teeth and gums.
You knew this day might be coming, but it’s here sooner than you expected. Depending on the severity of your damage, you may need partial dentures or you may need a full set if the rest of your teeth need to be pulled.
Thankfully, if you live in Troy or Rochester Hills, MI, or anywhere else in the surrounding area, you can visit the dentists at Hubbard & Leath Dental. They will give you a fair assessment of your oral health and advise you on the best solution for your situation.
How Smoking Hurts Your Smile
Researchers at the Academy of General Dentistry have found that smokers are twice as likely as nonsmokers to lose teeth. Tufts University found similar results in separate studies comparing tooth loss in men who smoked a pack of cigarettes per day and non-smokers and women who are smokers, nonsmokers, and former smokers.
Dentists and scientists know that smoking increases your risk of developing gum disease. As gum disease advances, it can damage the bone that holds your teeth in place, which is why your teeth can feel loose or fall out.
Smoking also has been connected to increased risk of plaque and tartar, which can lead to gum disease and tooth decay.
To put it simply, tobacco is bad for your oral health, and it could cost you some or all of your teeth.
Finding A Fix
If smoking has already cost you a few teeth, then you may be asking what your options are. This depends both on how much damage has been done and on your expectations for your tooth replacement.
Here are three options you may have:
◆ Partial Dentures
If you’ve already lost some teeth, then your first thought may be to get partial dentures or a dental bridge.
This bridge closes the gap between your remaining healthy teeth. Whenever possible, we like our patients to keep as many of their natural teeth as they can.
Partial dentures are a good way to replace a few teeth, and it can save money compared to a full set of dentures.
Removable partial dentures are attached to a plastic base. This base is made to match the color of your gums. This also provides an easy-to-use system to remove your dentures for cleaning and to attach them when you need them.
A dental bridge, or fixed partial dentures, is designed to remain in place. These can be made one of two ways.
We can reshape the teeth on either side of the gap in your mouth to serve as abutments. The dental crowns on either side of your bridge will be bonded to those abutments to hold your bridge in place.
The other option is to make a dental bridge that can be attached to dental implants. Implants replace the roots of your teeth. They can be placed into your bone to provide support and stability for your bridge.
◆ Full Dentures
If you are one of the 35 million Americans who are already missing one complete arch of teeth, then full dentures will be part of your tooth replacement plan.
Even if you still have some teeth remaining, this may be what we recommend. If your remaining teeth are unhealthy, it may be better for you and your long-term oral health to have them removed.
Please be aware that it can take 8 to 12 weeks for you to recover before your dentures can be placed. We can make temporary dentures for you to wear in this recovery period, however.
The most common dentures are removable dentures. These will restore the appearance of your smile, so you won’t feel self-conscious about your teeth.
However, you should be aware that you will not have the same bite force that you did with your natural teeth. This can make eating certain foods much more difficult.
Dental implants can be used to hold a full set of dentures securely in place just like they can be used to support partial dentures.
By planning the placement of your dental implants, you can regain something very close to your original bite force. This means you can wear dentures and still eat all the foods that you enjoy without worrying that your dentures will come loose.
The implants also help by promoting new bone growth, which is good for your long-term oral health.
Know Your Risks
No matter how old or young you are, smoking poses a lot of risks to your oral health. The sooner you quit, the less likely you will need to pick out your dentures down the road.
If you should need teeth replaced, however, then Hubbard and Leath Dental wants to help you make the decision that works best for you. Use our online appointment form or call 248.266.2528 to schedule a visit to our dentist office in Rochester Hills, MI.