Smoking creates all sorts of oral health and aesthetic problems. That’s probably not news to you, but we at Elite Dental Arts in Midtown are interested in new research that shows smoking has other dental effects that were not previously understood. One of those effects is the suppression of the immune system in dental pulp, which could put patients at risk for recurring toothaches.
Dental pulp is highly sensitive and can become inflamed in response to injuries or infections. When tissue is inflamed, it becomes more permeable to antimicrobial peptides. These tiny acids latch onto invading bacteria and kill them, making them a crucial part of the immune system. But new research has shown that smokers lack antimicrobial peptides in their pulp, meaning that infections are able to last longer and are harder to treat. If left untreated long enough, a pulp infection could develop into a facial abscess and cause sepsis.
Root canals are the standard treatment for pulp infections, but there’s a possibility that some bacteria could be overlooked and cause the infection to return. An infected tooth may ultimately have to be pulled and replaced with an implant or partial denture. Although we provide high-quality prosthetics at Elite Dental Arts, we hope our patients will take this research as additional inspiration to avoid smoking.
Nick M. Mobilia, DDS
ELITE DENTAL ARTS
9 East 45th Street, 6th Floor
New York, NY 10017