Are you thinking about replacing your decayed or damaged teeth with dentures? If you are, then you are likely tired of the pain and difficulties you encounter while eating. That's understandable. It is also a wise decision as you will not only be able to enjoy your meals more often, but your confidence will also receive a boost along with your physical appearance.
However, if you are a smoker, you should seriously consider quitting at least a few weeks in advance of getting dentures. Otherwise, you will find that although you no longer have to suffer the indignity of not having teeth, you now face various problems that could have been avoided had you stopped smoking beforehand.
Quitting After Dentures Could Be Painful
Let's say that instead of quitting before you have your dentures fitted, you decide to quit sometime thereafter. However, doing this could leave you in constant pain—and not just while wearing your dentures. You see, after years of smoking, your gums develop a harder layer of protective skin, much like the soles of your feet when you spend time walking outside barefoot. But what happens when there is no longer any need for that tough skin?
When you stop smoking, your gums shed the now unnecessary layer of skin that once protected them from the hot smoke of your cigarettes. This leaves them tender and can leave your mouth feeling like it is on fire. Your gums may also bleed for a time. Wearing your dentures will then become painful. Furthermore, the change in your gum tissue may also cause your dentures to no longer fit as snugly as they should.
Healing Time Is Increased in Smokers
Did you know that nicotine is a vasoconstrictor, which means that it constricts the arteries throughout your body, making them smaller? This not only makes your heart work harder, but it also reduces the blood flow to your gums.
Reduced blood flow means longer healing times and a greater chance of gum disease.
Bone Loss Is Accelerated in Smokers
Dentists recommend that you take your dentures out at night and only wear them when necessary during the day. This is because when worn all the time, dentures irritate the gums and cause infections due to bacterial build-up. Wearing your dentures all the time then could speed up alveolar (jaw bone) bone loss which occurs naturally when teeth are lost.
Smoking has been shown to speed up the resorption of the alveolar ridge. This means that along with the normal amount of bone loss that comes with losing teeth, causing your face to shrink, you also have the added negative effects of smoking.
With that in mind, if you are a smoker and are considering getting dentures in the near future, try to stop smoking now to avoid any of the above issues.Share
10 August 2017
As a retired dentist, I work with charities which visit developing countries and educate children about dental care. It gives me great satisfaction to revisit these communities and see how proud the children are of their efforts. I am acutely aware that good dental hygiene can help prevent a range of serious conditions when these children become older. I started this blog because it greatly distresses me that many people in Australia do not seem to care for their teeth as much as children in these poor communities. This is happening despite ready access to items like toothbrushes and toothpaste which are luxuries in the places I visit. It is my hope that this blog encourages you not to take dental health for granted. My greatest wish is that you can be as inspired as the children I see in my charity work. Please read on and enjoy.