Photo of hand holding an electronic cigarette over a dark background with smoke
Photo via iStock

Vaping has become a popular new way to smoke. Vaping has been makingheadlines in the news recently due to young adults developing lung disease fromTHC based vape products and is of particular concern here at the Las Vegas areawith the recent legalization of cannabis and corresponding increase in useamong the community.  People often usevaping as a means to quit traditional cigarette smoking. Vaping is believed tobe “safer” than traditional cigarette smoking because the product inhaled isconsidered non-combustible and most frequently based primarily on food gradepropylene glycol instead of combustible tobacco by-products. In theory, this reducesor eliminates the harmful second-hand smoke effect as well as changes theamount and type of chemicals to which you are exposed. However, when talkingabout health, it is important to look at your body as a whole and vaping is noexception. As healthcare providers, the most important thing we want people toknow is that smoking or vaping anything will likely have long term consequencesand may not be limited to your lungs. While research on this subject is newerand will continue to become clearer and more reliable with time, certainly notsmoking or vaping will always be the best for your health.

Vaping specifically has a negative effect on your:

  • Gum health
  • Dental health

Vaping and your gumhealth

Photo of lower anterior teeth showing dental tartar
An active vaping patient of Drs. Chin and Pharar with severe gum disease

Vaping increases the risk of gum disease. The vape, also known as an e-cigarette, heats up a liquid into a vapor which is then inhaled. The inhaled vapor damages the gums as the hot vapor passes through the mouth. This increases the inflammation in your mouth as well as damages the blood vessels in the gums. As the gums are injured from the vessel damage, it makes the gums appear less pink and causes bad breath. The lack of bleeding/reduction in blood flow can actually mask the severity of the gum disease. If left untreated, this can develop into severe gum disease, called periodontitis. Periodontitis is much more serious than gingivitis, and it can result in the inner layer of bone and gum tissue pulling away from your teeth to form pockets. As these pockets collect plaque and other debris, they become infected.  The process is relatively slow and often goes unnoticed by patients.

Toxins produced by the bacteria found in plaque eventually causethe bone and connective tissue holding your teeth in place to deteriorate. Overtime, the pockets in your gums deepen and can result in tooth loss. We oftensee that with regards to gum health specifically, patients who either smoke orvape tend to be at increased risk for similar gum problems. Regular care tailoredto your individual needs can help fight these problems and potentially preventthe need for more invasive or involved procedures that can be required for moresevere cases.

Vaping and yourdental health

Vaping exposes the front surfaces of the teeth tothe inhaled vapor. The inhaled vapor has additives that stain the teeth. Thisdark staining makes teeth look unattractive. Stains that are superficial canoften be removed by cleaning the tooth surface, but long-standing stainsrequire more aggressive treatment. This involves removing the tooth surface andreplacing it with a tooth-colored material.

Treatment Options

Dr. Robert Chin and Dr. Jessica Pharar offer a variety oftreatment options. They will recommend the best course of action for you basedon the health and condition of your teeth and gums.

Depending on the severity of your vaping-caused disease,treatment may entail:

  • Scaling and Rootplanning- This involves cleaning above and below the gum line to remove tartarand inflammation. The cleaning stimulates increased blood flow to the gums.
  • Restoration of damagedtooth structure- Stained teeth can be cleaned or covered depending on theseverity. This will improve the appearance of your smile as well as remove theharmful deposits from the tooth surface.

If you’re experiencing pain, surgical treatments may be required.

Please contact Drs. Chin Dentistry using the form on this pageor call 702-445-7075 today to schedule an appointment. Our dentistsserve patients in Las Vegas. Our practice can be found in Summerlin.