The body contains natural defenses against tooth infections, but smoking can compromise them. At Southern Cross Dental in Colorado Springs, we frequently provide reliable endodontic treatment to people with infected dental pulp. But new scientific research has uncovered why smokers are likelier than other people to suffer pulp infections, and why their infections tend to be more severe.
Dental pulp becomes inflamed as an automatic immune system response to an infection or injury. This prevents bacteria from spreading and flushes the infected area with white blood cells and antimicrobial peptides. The latter are molecules that attach to the disease-spreading bacteria, neutralizing or killing them. But smokers suffer from pulp infections that are twice as likely to require root canals, and a new study found that their pulp has far fewer antimicrobial peptides.
A root canal removes infected dental pulp, but there is always a possibility of an infection returning. We use antibacterial washes to reduce that chance and provide periodontal therapy to combat infections that spread to gum tissue. But patients should be aware that worse pulp infections are one more consequence of smoking, and that there is some evidence that renewed antimicrobial peptide production is one of the benefits of quitting.
Drs. Navid and Faranak Rahimpour operate Southern Cross Dental at 1855 S Nevada Ave, Colorado Springs, Colorado, 80905-2516. To schedule an appointment, call 719-471-1717 or visit Southern Cross Family Dentistry and fill out a contact sheet.