Smoking and Tooth Loss By Dr. Collier on May 31, 2020

up close image of man breaking cigarette in halfIt’s no secret that tobacco use has a significant negative impact on your oral health and overall wellness. Smoking and chewing tobacco are directly linked to serious dental problems, including tooth decay, gum disease, and oral cancer. Our team at Southern Dental Implant Center in Cordova, TN, takes care to educate patients on the link between smoking and tooth loss. During an appointment at our office, we can also discuss dental implant candidacy after tooth loss, as well as alternative teeth replacement options for optimal oral health.

Smoking and Tooth Decay

Tobacco products decrease natural saliva production. As a result, smokers are more prone to chronic dry mouth. Saliva helps wash away plaque, tartar, and debris. When the oral cavity is dry, it is easier for cavity-causing plaque and tartar to stick to the teeth.

When plaque and tartar remain on the surfaces of our teeth for too long, cavities develop. Left untreated, tooth decay can ultimately lead to tooth loss.

Smoking and Gum Disease

Smoking affects circulation, including blood flow to the gums. As a result, the body’s natural healing capacity is weakened. If an oral infection develops, smokers have a more difficult time of fighting it off. According to the CDC, smokers are twice as likely to develop gum disease compared to nonsmokers. Furthermore, periodontal treatments may not work as well for smokers as they do for those who do not use tobacco.

Left untreated, gum disease damages the bone that supports the teeth. Over time, this causes the teeth to become loose and they can eventually fall out or need to be extracted.

Treating Tooth Loss

If tooth loss does occur, it is important to explore replacement options. Missing teeth can cause the adjacent teeth to shift and cause serious bite and jaw problems. Effective teeth replacement options available at our Cordova practice include:

Dental implants

Considered the most successful and longest-lasting option, dental implants serve as artificial teeth roots. These threaded titanium posts are embedded into the jawbone during a surgical procedure. Implants can support crowns, bridges, and dentures. To qualify for implants, patients must be in good oral health and free from gum disease. Smokers can still be eligible under certain circumstances, but they have a higher rate of implant failure.

Dental Bridges

These custom restorations consist of two dental crowns with artificial teeth between them. Bridges are generally used to replace one to three teeth in a row. To place the bridge, the teeth on either side of the gap must be reduced. This involves some enamel removal. When the bridge is bonded into place, the artificial teeth fill in the space and complete your bite.


Partial dentures replace any number of teeth, while full dentures replace an entire arch. These appliances are removable and must be taken out to be properly cleaned.

Other Oral Health Considerations

Cavities and gum disease aside, tobacco use is the leading cause of oral cancer. Tobacco smoke consists of over 7,000 chemicals and 70 of those are known carcinogens. Kicking the habit for good is the best thing you can do for your long-term health.

Contact Our Practice to Learn More

If you have suffered tooth loss from smoking, it is important to explore replacement options to preserve your oral health. To learn more, schedule a visit at our Memphis-area practice. Call us at (901) 756-0078 or contact us online anytime.

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The team at ​Southern Dental Implant Center

​Southern Dental Implant Center

Dr. Jason Collier, our board-certified dentist at ​Southern Dental Implant Center, provides patients in Memphis and the Mid-South area with state-of-the-art dental care using advanced technology. Our doctors are affiliated with many prestigious organizations, including:

  • American Academy of Implant Dentistry
  • International Congress of Oral Implantologists
  • American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry
  • Dental Organization for Conscious Sedation
  • Academy of General Dentistry
  • American Dental Association
  • Tennessee Dental Association
  • Christian Medical & Dental Associations
  • Memphis Dental Society

To learn more about our practice or to schedule an appointment at our Cordova, TN, dental office, contact us online or call (901) 756-0078.

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I have been a patient of Dr. Jason Collier's for many years and have always been treated with the utmost respect and professionalism. His staff is the friendliest dental staff I have ever encountered and I highly recommend this office for any dental needs! Kathleen M.

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