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C'mon, smile.  You always look so serious. 


I used to hear those lines all the time, for over a decade.  And there was a good reason.  I kept my mouth closed like a vise (vice for you Brits).  It all started when I was 39 and I made a routine trip to the dentist.  He did that thing where he pushed a tool under my gums at each tooth and called out a number.  5, 7, 7, 9, 8, 5, 9, 8, etc.  Apparently high numbers (on a scale of 1-10) were bad.


"We're going to have to extract 4 teeth today and send you to a periodontist.  You probably have some hereditary periodontal disease, but smoking for decades is likely the biggest contributor".  


WTF!  I had used a Sonicare toothbrush ever since they first came out.  At least twice a day.  I flossed and used a Waterpik every evening.  But those tools were not powerful enough weapons to combat the damage smoking was doing to my mouth.  The sad thing is, I continued to smoke for another decade.  And the problems grew worse.  4 bridges, 2 crowns, and receding  gum lines that made my teeth look twice as long as normal.  My solution was to never smile. ?


Long story short, I had to have all my teeth removed last year.  Had to choose between dentures ($10K out of pocket) or full implants ($47K out of pocket).  I chose the later, and am happy with the aesthetic result, but it will never feel the same as my real teeth and I'll be paying off the implants for years.


I know there are much more serious consequences to smoking out there.  Cancer, heart disease, COPD, etc.  But I just wanted to bring up one of the not so obvious damages that may occur as a result of long term smoking.  Please throw this on your pile of concerns if you're young and considering quitting now.


The good news is, I've never felt better since I quit smoking, and I now have good reason to smile about my life of freedom.




office selfie.jpg

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I am a toothless wonder, too, BKP !

For sure, smoking had a lot to do with it

and combined with hereditary issues...

my gnashers didn't stand a chance.


You look great, BKP.



Edited by Sazerac
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Me too!  I tell my husband my diamonds are all in my mouth.  I do have genetics that played a huge part but know smoking did not help.

I spent many years trying to save my teeth, with gum surgery, root canals and crowns.  Finally a dentist told me my teeth were not in the bone and just floating.

Options - $50,000 to surgically go in and wire them all together or $27,000 to have them removed, with three implants to hold the teeth on the bottom.

Insurance would not even pay for the removal of the teeth.  

I chose the second option.  I still had to have bone and skin graphs for the implants.  

It was all very painful and expensive.  

My original two front teeth were crooked.  The dentist asked me if I wanted to keep that with false teeth.  I thought he was nuts.  I wasn't going to pay all that money to have crooked teeth.

Needless to say, I hate my teeth now.  I can not get used to them not being crooked.  That must have been my character!


You do look wonderful BKP.  They may have been expensive but a much better option and more like your own teeth.  



Edited by Linda Thomas
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Thank you for sharing that BKP, gum disease is serious. My aunt didnt smile and told nobody her situation, one day she was sick and couldnt chew from what i saw. I asked her to open her mouth and she was hesitant and when she finally let me see THERE WAS ONLY ONE MOLAR IN HER MOUTH! She had her front teeth (all stained from smoking) but had all the rest pulled and she didnt have the money and didnt ask about options (depression) for a solution.

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Smile... you look great ?

I had peridontal disease too, still got all my teeth , but had extensive cleaning done over several sessions and cost lots of ££££££££££££££££££££/s   again caused by smoking.

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2 hours ago, jillar said:


That's only a $23,500.00 smile, we want to see the $47,000.00 smile ?


After 10 years with a pickle puss* all I can muster is half a smile.


* My father used to say that.....along with "wipe that puss off your face".  He never understood why my sister and I laughed at that.

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I have bad genetics, long term effects of chemotherapy AND smoking.   I have had root canals, crowns, and eventually extractions.   I have two implants on the lower left side that holds a three tooth bridge (a process that took 6 months but was worth it).   I have a traditional bridge on the lower right side along with several crowns on the upper teeth.


I think I have spent more money on my teeth over the years than my regular doctor.


Model of what my implant/bridge looks like.



Quick edit.  When I was 18 and and just started chemo, my oncologist said I need to get to the dentist for a checkup and stay on top of any issues.   My Mom thought dental care was the least of my problems and wanted to put it off.   We then got a lecture on the effects of chemo and dental health, which could lead to complications during treatment.

Edited by Wayne045
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3 minutes ago, Jenny said:

Yup. I too have had issues with my teeth due to smoking.  Having some grafting done later this year....Gums have just receded so much.

Thank God implants are an option now but damn, that's expensive.


Yes they are.  Plus it's a long, multi-step process, Your regular dentist has to make molds of your teeth.   Then dental surgery to remove the dead tooth or teeth (if you still have them) and put in the implant(s), then a 5-7 month wait while your bone and jaws heal.  Then the posts are put on followed by your normal dentist to attach the bridge.


If you can afford it though, it is definitely worth it.


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This was one of greatest fears, losing my teeth. I've realized my gums have receded. 

A man I know, someone who works near me has only a few random teeth. Stained teeth. I don't know how or what he eats. He's very thin. He smoked for decades. Then his doctor told him he could expect to die in a year or so or quit smoking.  He quit cold turkey. Says he misses it nearly every day  but won't go back.

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Additional Data Point: While you can never reverse the damage of periodontal disease, it can be halted in its tracks. 
One day,  unexpected and out of the blue, the nice hygeinist lady asked "Has anyone talked with you about ... <erie pause> ... Periodontal Disease ... Mr. The Sarge ?" ... "Uhhhhh ... nope ..." 

Progressed for 3 years. Had to have the ol' under-the-gumline root planing / deep scraping.  Twice.
Next up: Surgery. They basically cut the gums away from the jawbone, roll 'em outa the way, and go to town on the teeth roots. 


Fast forward 2 years:  Quit smoking. 
Active Gum Disease all but disappeared. 
Gums returned to pink, and plump, and healthy. 
No sign of active disease for the past 5 years. 
There's still the bone loss and receeded gums ... but it's stable. No change in half a decade. 

They even quit measuring and reading out the numbers (Sarge wasn't quite as bad - highest of 5 (2,2,4,3,5,4,5 3.3....) ) at every appointment because they were no longer changing progressing.

Two changes were made: (1) Flossing twice daily - whether needed or not (previously Sarge only flossed when a hunk o' something was stuck up in there) ... and (2) quitting the cancer-sticks.  Dentist could neither confirm nor deny which had a larger benefit, but the two together cinched the deal. 

Quit smoking, folks. 
Your future teeth will thank you. 
Sarge had perfectly sound, healthy, good teeth that would have fallen out of his head by now due to bone loss from the gum disease. 
Now? Problem solved. Complete remission. No sign of active disease. 
Sarge is certain he'd be in dentures by now if he hadn't quit. 


PS: Your heart and arteries will love you, too. There's a funky correlation between gum disease and heart disease. 


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I'm fortunately out of the 5's and 6's but still have some 4s and need to get my teeth cleaned 3 or 4 times a year. I lost a tooth because it cracked and wasn't fixed in time for a root canal (long story). Whenever I have tooth pain I get trigeminal neuralgia symptoms that resolve when the problem is fixed but for that reason I elected not to get an implant so I just wear a partial denture for a few hours a day to stop the other teeth from moving. It is a back tooth and you cannot see it.


I use a water pick, an electric tooth brush and floss every day. I have been regularly going to the dentist for cleaning for the past decade and that has helped a lot to save my teeth. Smoking did a lot of damage to my gums and they have receded but are pretty healthy now for the most part.

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