Substance abuse is something that takes its toll on the entire body. This includes the mouth. When a person is addicted to drugs the teeth can become sensitive, stained, and develop cracks and cavities. In extreme addiction cases a person may lose teeth and possibly end up with damage to their gums as well. Fortunately, modern dentistry can provide people who are recovering from addiction with a second chance at healthier teeth and a brighter smile.
Meth is a drug that is particularly hard on the teeth. The reason for this is because it is highly acidic. Using meth will decrease the production of saliva. Saliva is important for buffering acidic attacks that occur in the mouth. In addition, most people who use meth will crave sugar and often have a diet that is high in sugary drinks and carbohydrates.
Highs from meth can last for up to twelve hours, which means there are long stretches when dental care is simply overlooked, with brushing and flossing regularly being highly unlikely. Meth also acts as an appetite suppressant, which means that many meth users are often malnourished. All of these factors combined can lead to poor gum health and rampant tooth decay.
Other Drugs that Affect the Teeth
While meth is one of the most well known drugs to cause tooth decay and other dental issues, it is not the only drug that can cause these issues. Crack cocaine is highly acidic as well and can also cause dental health issues. Simply drinking soda regularly can also wreak havoc on your teeth. Smoking tobacco and pot can cause the teeth to become yellow and may also cause decay.
Fixing your Smile
For those who are recovering from a drug addiction or even a soda addiction, getting your smile back can go a long way when it comes to building confidence. It is important to note that a smile revision cannot occur if a person is still using. It is best to wait to see a dentist until after the substance use has been completely stopped. It is actually dangerous for someone who is actively using meth to undergo anesthesia or to be given nitrous oxide to undergo dental care. This is why dentists require a patient to be well into recovery before providing any type of care. In fact, smile rehabilitation can help motivate a person to stay sober.
Types of Treatment
The treatment for fixing a person’s teeth after addiction will vary based on the individual. How the dentist will fix the teeth will depend on the person’s health history as well as how much damage has been done to the gums and the teeth. The very first step to fixing your smile will be to see the dentist for an evaluation. From the evaluation the dentist will be able to create a treatment plan that will help stop further dental decay. A thorough cleaning of the teeth and gums will likely be the first step. Cavities will be filled and possibly root canals and extractions.
In some cases, a dentist may recommend fixing your teeth with braces. This will be decided on after your mouth is freed from disease. Dentures and implants may also be a necessary part of your smile reconstruction.
While it may take some work to reconstruct your smile after addiction, it can be done. The first step is to recover from your addiction and then move on from there with your dentist along to help you at each step of the way.