Vaping has become a popular new way to smoke. Vaping has been making headlines in the news recently due to young adults developing lung disease from THC based vape products and is of particular concern here at the Las Vegas area with the recent legalization of cannabis and corresponding increase in use among the community. People often use vaping as a means to quit traditional cigarette smoking. Vaping is believed to be “safer” than traditional cigarette smoking because the product inhaled is considered non-combustible and most frequently based primarily on food grade propylene glycol instead of combustible tobacco by-products. In theory, this reduces or eliminates the harmful second-hand smoke effect as well as changes the amount and type of chemicals to which you are exposed. However, when talking about health, it is important to look at your body as a whole and vaping is no exception. As healthcare providers, the most important thing we want people to know is that smoking or vaping anything will likely have long term consequences and may not be limited to your lungs. While research on this subject is newer and will continue to become clearer and more reliable with time, certainly not smoking 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 gum health
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 cause the bone and connective tissue holding your teeth in place to deteriorate. Over time, the pockets in your gums deepen and can result in tooth loss. We often see that with regards to gum health specifically, patients who either smoke or vape tend to be at increased risk for similar gum problems. Regular care tailored to your individual needs can help fight these problems and potentially prevent the need for more invasive or involved procedures that can be required for more severe cases.
Vaping and your dental health
Vaping exposes the front surfaces of the teeth to the inhaled vapor. The inhaled vapor has additives that stain the teeth. This dark staining makes teeth look unattractive. Stains that are superficial can often be removed by cleaning the tooth surface, but long-standing stains require more aggressive treatment. This involves removing the tooth surface and replacing it with a tooth-colored material.
Dr. Robert Chin and Dr. Jessica Pharar offer a variety of treatment options. They will recommend the best course of action for you based on the health and condition of your teeth and gums.
Depending on the severity of your vaping-caused disease, treatment may entail:
- Scaling and Root planning- This involves cleaning above and below the gum line to remove tartar and inflammation. The cleaning stimulates increased blood flow to the gums.
- Restoration of damaged tooth structure- Stained teeth can be cleaned or covered depending on the severity. This will improve the appearance of your smile as well as remove the harmful 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 page or call 702-445-7075 today to schedule an appointment. Our dentists serve patients in Las Vegas. Our practice can be found in Summerlin.