- May 11, 2011
WILLIAMSPORT AND PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA – May 31 is World No Tobacco Day and here at the office of Dr. David DiGiallorenzo, a Williamsport, PA dental implants specialist, we are using the World Health Organization’s observation as a vehicle for educating the public on how detrimental tobacco products can be to periodontal health.
“There is a wealth of information available to the public that outlines the dangers of tobacco use and how it can lead to significant health issues,” says Dr. DiGiallorenzo, who owns a Collegeville and Williamsport, PA periodontics practice. “But unfortunately, the oral health effects of tobacco use often are overlooked, ignored to unknown to those who use them.”
This is a case where what you don’t know actually CAN hurt you, says the Williamsport, PA periodontist.
Roughly half of all periodontitis cases are believed to be the result of the person being a current or former smoker, according to a 2001 Journal of Dental Education article. The article also stated that those who smoke cigarettes and cigars are more prone to more significant loss of bone height than nonsmokers. Pipe smokers also have been shown to suffer more bone loss than the average person who does not smoke.
It’s no safer for users of smokeless tobacco products, Dr. DiGiallorenzo says. Smokeless tobacco users typically suffer from localized problems at the placement site, such as the cheeks of tobacco chewers and the lower front gum line and inside the lip in those who use smokeless tobacco referred to as “dip.”
“It’s important to me and the other Williamsport, PA periodontists in our practice that we educate tobacco users on the oral health dangers of these products, but also to give them hope,” he says. “Studies show that the progression of periodontal disease slows in patients who quit using tobacco products.”
To that end, DiGiallorenzo offers several smoking cessation modes within his practice, including nutrition, pharmaceuticals and hypnosis.
Using tobacco products can leave people more susceptible to periodontal disease because it increases the likelihood of having calculus, which is plaque that hardens on the teeth and has to be removed during a professional cleaning, according to the American Academy of Periodontology. It also can lead to the development of deep pockets between the gums and teeth, and can cause bone and tissue loss, which provides less support to the teeth.
Untreated periodontal disease can lead to deepening pockets, which provides room for more bacteria to grow in areas where it can destroy the supportive bone and soft tissue. Eventually, the gums can recede from the teeth and the teeth may become more painful, loose or could even fall out.
One thing Dr. DiGiallorenzo stresses is that for those who choose to quit using tobacco products, it is often possible to regain some of the ground lost to periodontal disease virtually painlessly. That is achieved through the use of the laser-assisted new attachment procedure- commonly referred to as LANAP. It involves no cutting and suturing, he said.
© 2011 Sinai Marketing and Dr. David Digiallorenzo.