Are you one of the many Americans who indulges in the occasional cigarette? If so, you might not realize that you are increasing the chances of needing a root canal later in life. According to the experts at Oral Surgery Associates of Alaska in Anchorage, the ingredients in cigarettes and side effects of smoking damage the delicate tissues in your mouth, leading to problems that require intensive treatment. Here, the oral surgeons explain how root canals work and why smoking increases your odds of needing the procedure.
Oral Surgeons Explain Root Canals
Root canals are surgical procedures that become necessary when parts of the tooth like blood vessels, nerve endings, and soft tissue become damaged. In many cases, the area around the tooth also becomes infected, swollen, and painful. During a root canal, an oral surgeon will remove the damaged tissue, thoroughly clean the area, and protect the tissue to prevent future infections.
Why Smokers Are More Likely to Need Root Canals
Research shows that smokers are far more likely to require a root canal at some point. While additional studies are needed to determine the specific connection between cigarette use and oral infections, smoking has many known effects that could cause the increased risk.
For starters, smokers have a harder time fighting infections anywhere in the body. If a cavity or damaged tooth becomes infected, it will quickly escalate to a serious issue requiring oral surgery. Smoking also affects blood flow, which can cause inflammation in the mouth. This side effect increases the pain you may experience if your gums are already tender and swollen.
Some oral surgeons suggest that smoking may not directly increase the need for a root canal, but it does make patients more susceptible to minor dental issues like cavities and plaque buildup. These conditions, in turn, can lead to more serious problems that must be treated with root canals. It is also believed that smokers struggle to get their teeth as clean as nonsmokers due to prolonged chemical and smoke exposure. This increases the risk of all oral health diseases and the need for cosmetic dental care.
If cigarette use has impacted your dental health, seeking treatment from an oral surgeon is an important first step to restoring your teeth and gums. Oral Surgery Associates of Alaska has been performing root canals for many years, relying on state-of-the-art tools and techniques to achieve lasting results. Reach out to them online or call at (907) 561-1430 to schedule a consultation.