Rewinding the Years: Dental Care Tips for Older Adults

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Rewinding the Years: Dental Care Tips for Older Adults

Once my children were grown and on their own, I decided it was time to care of me. One of the first things I did was make an appointment with the dentist. I quickly discovered that years of not keeping up with my own dental care had taken a heavy toll on my teeth. Whereas I thought my teeth were just fine, the dentist pointed out several problems that were going to require a lot of work. When talking to friends, I found out that many of them were in the same boat. This blog is for people like me who just did not have time to keep up with their own dental care.

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As a smoker, you have probably been told on more than one occasion about the negative effects it can have on your body. However, if you have in mind obtaining dental implants, there are several reasons why some dentists may prefer that you stop smoking completely before the treatment begins. Even though not all cosmetic dentists will not offer dental implants to a patient who is a smoker, there are a handful of reasons why some dentists will not. Here are a few fast facts you should know about dental implants and smoking.

1. Smoking can actually burn the soft tissue in your mouth

With every puff of a cigarette, you are drawing in smoke and fumes from a burning cigarette. What many smokers do not know is that smoking can actually burn the soft tissue of your mouth because with every puff, you are also drawing in excessive amounts of heat. This action causes what is medically known as keratosis, which is basically a thickening of skin cells on the gums, and this can cause problems if you plan to get implants. Not only will the soft tissue be slower to heal, it can also make it difficult for the soft tissue to enclose around the new tooth as it should.

2. Smoking changes salivation in your mouth

 People who smoke often suffer with extreme dehydration of the different parts of the mouth because smoking both changes salivation and causes dehydration due to the excess heat. Dry mouth can contribute to the growth of bacteria and change healing processes, which is no good if you need implants to heal. In order for the dental implant surgery to be effective, your dentist will want to ensure that your mouth will be able to heal properly.

3. Smoking affects immunity reactions in your mouth

Because smoking changes blood circulation in the mouth, it can drastically reduce your mouth's ability to fight off germs and infections. If you obtain dental implants and your mouth is prone to infection, you could be at risk of your body rejecting the newly implanted tooth altogether. 

If you have intentions of getting dental implants to replace missing or damaged teeth, being a smoker can mean more complications, and may even mean that your dentist will require you to quit before performing the surgery. Talk to a cosmetic surgeon (like Gordon Dental) in your area for more information.