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Tobacco And Teeth: When A Smoker Needs Dental Restorations

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If you are a smoker, you likely already know that smoking is a bad habit. After all, you're probably regularly reminded by family, friends, co-workers, and medical professionals. But if you're a smoker, there are certain dental restorations you may be interested in that can help your mouth heal from your habit. 

Time to Quit

Most people would say that it is in your best interests to stop smoking immediately. Some people might find that they cannot stop quite so easily, and so gradual weaning can be more successful. It could also be that you stop smoking, only to start again shortly afterward. If you are a smoker, you will find that there are some forms of restorative dentistry that are more effective for nicotine-induced discoloration than others, making them your best bet when a tooth is in need of restoration.

Easily Discolored

Firstly, you should know which dental restorations may not be effective if you continue to smoke. Dental bonding is the application of a tooth-colored composite resin to your teeth. This covers imperfections, deep stains, cracks, and chips. However, it's resin (which is plastic). This means it will quickly become discolored and should be avoided if you're a smoker, despite its low cost and ease of application. Dental bonding is only wise if you plan to stop smoking in the very near future.

Dental Veneers

Restorative dentistry might be largely cosmetic, and this is the case with dental veneers. These are incredibly thin, tooth-colored shells that are bonded to the outward-facing surface of your teeth. They conceal any imperfections beneath and can offer years of service. There are different materials to choose from, and if you are a smoker, you may want to choose porcelain. Porcelain veneers are dense, and not especially porous. They will eventually discolor if you continue to smoke, but this won't happen as quickly as with resin.

Dental Crowns

Sometimes a restoration must improve both the appearance and functionality of a compromised tooth, and this is why some problems can only be solved with a dental crown. This is a cap that has been manufactured to precisely mimic the tooth it will be fitted over, both in color and shape. Again, it should be porcelain for maximum durability. 

In essence, your restorations should favor porcelain over resin, since porcelain won't be quite so reactive when exposed to nicotine. In any event, even the most durable restorations will eventually discolor due to your smoking, so perhaps consider your need for dental work as an ideal opportunity to give up your habit.