How meth affects oral health

2015.01.28

According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health more than a million Americans abuse methamphetamine in a single year. The destructive physical effects of meth are devastating to teeth and gums.

massachusetts-meth-mouth
Photo courtesy of American Dental Association

Meth causes vomiting, which creates acid in the mouth; diarrhea, which dehydrates the body; and craving for sugar and junk food, which promotes further acid in the mouth. All of these factors contribute to a dry mouth, rob teeth of nutrients, and make the mouth a breeding ground for bacteria, plaque, and rapid tooth decay.

Some reports also attribute tooth decay to corrosion caused by chemicals in the drug. When ingested, meth causes blood vessels to shrink, which decreases the blood supply in your mouth. The result is oral tissue that decays. Jawbone and gum tissue become too weak to support your teeth.

As teeth rot and gum tissue and bone are destroyed, tooth loss is rampant. The picture on this page shows how devastating meth use can be. The degree of tooth loss does not necessarily coincide with how long a person has been using meth. In as few as four months, some users have teeth that have rotted to the roots.

The picture on this page shows how damaging meth can be on teeth. While meth is still in use, teeth can be minimally protected with fluoride treatments. Patients should be encouraged to drink lots of water. But most importantly, professionally help is needed to help control the addiction.

If a meth patient recovers, a skilled cosmetic dentist can make recommendations to prove natural-looking restorations for the patient’s teeth. Depending on the condition of the teeth, dental crowns or dental implants can be used to restore them. An attractive smile can go a long way to make the patient feel renewed.

This post is sponsored by Lowell, MA accredited cosmetic dentist Dr. Michael Szarek.

Can a dental bridge for front teeth look good?

2015.01.13

I have a central incisor and a lateral incisor that are missing. I know that dental implants are my best option but I just can’t afford them this year. I want something else that looks natural. Can I dental bridge for front teeth look good or will I have to settle for it looking okay? Todd W.

Todd – The restoration of front teeth with a dental bridge is straightforward. The challenge comes in producing natural-looking results. You can get beautiful results from a skilled cosmetic dentist who has an artistic approach.

A dental bridge requires that the natural teeth on either side of the missing ones be filed down to accommodate the bridge. The natural teeth will have dental crowns placed over them, which will serve as anchors for the bridge. The replacement teeth will be suspended between the crowned natural teeth.

An experienced cosmetic dentist can provide you with a porcelain bridge that will perfectly match your natural teeth. If you have ever considered having your teeth whitened, it should be done before you receive the bridge. A dental bridge is made to match the color of your natural teeth. If you teeth are whitened after you receive the bridge, your natural teeth will be whiter than the bridge.

Your cosmetic dentist will discuss your goals for your smile and help you plan accordingly. He or she has a master ceramist who manipulates dental porcelain to match the color, translucency, and characteristics of your natural teeth. The results are lifelike.

We recommend that you choose one or two cosmetic dentists with whom you can have a consultation. Check each dentist’s website for information on his or credentials and experience. During the consultation, you can ask questions and get more information on what you can expect for a dental bridge.

This post is sponsored by accredited cosmetic dentist Dr. Michael Szarek of Lowell, MA.