Smoking Can Harm the Long-Term Effe

CHICAGO--September 18, 2007--A study in the September issue of the Journal of Periodontology (JOP) found that smokers had less desirable long-term results following periodontal plastic surgery than non-smokers. The study followed 10 smokers and 10 non-smokers for two years to evaluate the effects of cigarette smoke on the long-term outcomes of a treatment to help soft tissue reattach to the root surface of the teeth. After two years, residual gum recession around the area which received the surgery was greater in smokers as compared to non-smokers. Study Abstract

Studies have shown that smoking can impair the body's ability to heal itself immediately after surgery; but, this most recent study also showed that when a patient has periodontal plastic surgery, smoking can damage the ability of that procedure to stay intact over a long period of time.

"People who smoke and have had some sort of periodontal plastic surgery should be aware of the negative side effects of smoking. It can be costly to have to repeat a surgery because the desirable outcomes might have been undone by smoking," explained Dr. Preston D. Miller, DDS, and AAP president. "Therefore, it is important patients and doctors agree to a smoking cessation program prior to any periodontal surgery. This will help a patient's chance of achieving optimal results."

To learn more about the oral health risks associated with smoking, you can get a referral to a periodontist in your area and free brochure samples including one titled Tobacco & Gum Disease by visiting the AAP's Web site at or calling 800-FLOSS-EM.

The American Academy of Periodontology is an 8,000-member association of dental professionals specializing in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of diseases affecting the gums and supporting structures of the teeth and in the placement and maintenance of dental implants. Periodontics is one of nine dental specialties recognized by the American Dental Association.

For more information, contact the AAP Public Affairs Department at 312/573-3243 or 312/573-3242.

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