Posted July 25, 2014
Did you know that smoking can create problems following oral (dental) surgical procedures?
Mayo Clinic researchers estimate that American smokers incur higher health care costs amounting to about $17 billion annually in direct medical costs in the year following a surgical procedure. Studies document that in the year following surgery, medical costs were about $400 higher for current smokers and $273 higher for former smokers, compared to non-smokers costs.
Effects on oral surgical procedures
Researchers have determined that smokers who have oral surgery, such as dental implants, periodontal plastic surgery or wisdom tooth removal, may experience difficulties healing.
Plastic periodontal surgery – According to the American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery, periodontal plastic surgery is performed to increase the life expectancy of teeth and gum tissue affected by periodontal disease. People who smoke following the procedure may heal slowly and need more surgery to repair gum tissue.
Dental implants – Dental implants are designed to replace lost teeth by inserting an artificial tooth into the jaw. Smokers are at higher risk for infection and problems healing following surgery. Researchers at the University of Murcia Clinic of Dentistry discovered that over five years, smokers have a 16 percent higher implant failure rate, compared to 1.4 percent for non-smokers.
Wisdom teeth extraction – If wisdom teeth become trapped or impacted in the jaw, the teeth must be surgically removed. According to Mayo Clinic, some patients experience dry sockets following surgery, which can be painful. Dry sockets can increase the risk for infection, and smokers are four times more likely to develop a dry socket as compared to non-smokers.
Smokers requiring medical or oral surgical procedures should always consult their physician or surgeon for directions on how to avoid complications following surgery.