- September 2, 2009
September 2, 2009- PHILADELPHIA, PA – It’s no secret that smoking is bad for you, but for those stubborn smokers out there, a Philadelphia, PA dental implants specialist has uncovered a few more reasons to “kick butt,” so to speak, once and for all.
Smoking and smokeless tobacco products is the number one risk factor for periodontal disease and can slow the healing process after oral surgery, said Dr. David Digiallorenzo. He also has noted that oral cancers are on the rise and this could be due in part to the use of smokeless tobacco products. Smokeless tobacco contains more than 2,000 chemicals, many of which have been directly related to causing cancer.
“Your oral health is a window into your overall health,” Digiallorenzo said. “Smokers tend to have poor health, with lots of chronic diseases looming.”
He and other Philadelphia, PA periodontists routinely counsel smokers on the importance of giving up the habit for good. Here are some reasons why:
Oral Surgery Effects
A study that followed smokers and non-smokers for two years after undergoing oral surgery to reattach gum tissue to the root surfaces of teeth found that the group of smokers experienced more gum recession around the surgery site than the non-smokers, according to the Journal of Periodontology.
Smokers also are more likely to get an infection after surgery and it may take longer for them to heal after surgery, compared to non-smokers, according to an American Academy of Periodontology published in February 2007. The reason is because smoking interferes with blood flow to the tissues and bone that surround the teeth and gums.
In cases of patients who have had a dental implant procedure, smoking can mean the difference between an implant that successfully integrates into the bone and a procedure that fails, Digiallorenzo said. The success rate of dental implants is reduced by about 10 percent among smokers.
“People typically don’t look forward to oral surgery to begin with,” Digiallorenzo said. “So for smokers who already may be apprehensive about oral surgery, it’s important for them to know that continuing to use tobacco products could mean that the surgery will have to be repeated down the road.”
Smoking also takes a toll on non-surgical treatment methods. For example, a 1999 study found that nearly 43 percent of smokers who underwent between six and 10 appointments to receive scaling and root planing treatment for periodontal disease required additional treatments. Only 11 percent of non-smokers required additional treatment.
Since Digiallorenzo added the Periolase dental laser to his practice earlier this year, he has noted that he is getting “much better results” than with traditional surgery on patients who are smokers. “We don’t know why this is happening,” he said.
The Periodontal Connection
As if slowing the healing process and lessening the effectiveness of periodontal surgery isn’t reason enough to quit smoking, consider this: using tobacco products can cause the periodontal disease that necessitates surgery in the first place, and it can mask the primary symptom associated with the disease- bleeding gums.
Nicotine usage causes tiny blood vessels to constrict, which adversely affects the amount of nutrients and oxygen that are delivered to gum tissue and prevents the tissue from bleeding.
“Most chronic smokers will develop gum disease and will never know it until its too late,” Digiallorenzo said.
Smokers are four times more likely than non-smokers to have periodontal disease because they tend to have more of the harmful bacteria that causes the disease in their mouths, he said.
Smokers who get periodontal disease also tend to have more serious and frequent cases of the disease than non-smokers, according to the Journal of Periodontology.
The Silver Lining
There is some good news for smokers, Digiallorenzo said. For those who quit smoking, the positive affects are almost immediate.
“Once you eliminate the source that hinders the healing process, your body begins to recover quicker,” he said. “Many people understand that quitting smoking has health benefits when it comes to cancer and heart health, but it also can help ensure that people are able to keep their teeth for a lifetime.”
Smoking cessation in Digiallorenzo’s practice is paramount, and his staff coordinates with other disciplines including acupuncturists, hypnotists and nutritionists to assist patients in kicking the habit, he said. Patients also have had success with pharmaceutical treatments, such as nicotine patches and Chantix, a drug that binds to nicotine receptors.
If you would like to learn more about the ill effects of smoking, you would like more information on periodontal disease or dental implants, or you wish to schedule a consultation with Dr. David Digiallorenzo, please call (610) 409-6064 in Collegeville; (570) 322-4741 in Williamsport; or visit his Web site: http://www.perioimplants.us/.
About Dr. David Digiallorenzo
Dr. David Digiallorenzo, or “Dr. D,” graduated from Temple University School of Dentistry in 1993 and completed a specialty in periodontics and dental implantology from the University of Pennsylvania in 1995.
He is a past associate clinical professor at the University of Pennsylvania in the Department of Periodontics. He teaches nationally and internationally and is a regular contributor to dental literature.
Dr. D’s private practice in suburban Philadelphia concentrates on periodontics, dental implantology, advanced reconstructive case management and TMJ treatment. It is a unique dental spa with two full-time massage therapists that specialize in reflexology, reiki, massage, aromatherapy and homeopathy. This combination creates a relaxed, optimal healing response.
Dr. D has two office locations: 184 W. Main St., Ste. 200, in Collegeville, PA; and 121 E. Fourth St. in Williamsport, PA.
© 2009 Sinai Marketing and Dr. David Digiallorenzo.