Are E-Cigarettes Safe for Dental Surgery?

E-Cigarettes vs. Traditional Cigarettes

Marketed as safer than traditional tobacco products, electronic cigarettes still are packed with nicotine, that notorious component which inhibits wound healing, increases the risks of anesthesia, and may lead to other complications during and after surgery. If you are thinking of having dental implants and you are an e-cigarette smoker, something is going to be amiss.

Anesthesia providers in the dental clinic setup are part of any oral health team, and together with dentists, surgeons and hygienists, are well aware of the dangers of e-cigarettes and other tobacco products to general oral health. A 17-year veteran of the sector, Cathy Harrison, DNAP, MSN, CRNA, talks about it in Dentistry Today.

Risks for Smokers

She says that that smokers, whether cigarettes or e-cigarettes, have very reactive airways, such that when they are sedated, they may start coughing during procedures. This also presents a hazard for the dentist, particularly in invasive procedures, such as when using a drill for implantation.

Effects of Nicotine

Nicotine impedes the body’s ability to deliver oxygen to organs and tissues. If the body is not using oxygen and promoting adequate circulation, this decreases the body’s capability to heal appropriately and increases the risk of infection.

Smoking also is a risk factor for periodontal disease, which can lead to bone loss and loose teeth. This is an important consideration for anesthesia providers who provide general anesthesia because there is a large population of smokers who need surgery.

Even 12 to 24 hours after a surgery can significantly increase the body’s ability to deliver oxygen to vital organs and tissues. Patients should be advised not to smoke or use e-cigarettes after dental procedures as simple as extractions. E-cigarettes can cause negative pressure, which can pull the clot from the extraction site and cause dry socket, which is extremely painful.

Detailed Health History

A thorough health history is important for the anesthesia provider to understand the patient’s health status and adjust the anesthetic or sedation plan accordingly. Smokers must disclose their history promptly.

E-cigarettes Are Not Less Risky

Best advice is to quit smoking or vaping. Either way, the potential complications are not to be ignored. For surgeries such as dental implants, let’s show you the way to treatment success, sans e-cigarettes. Please make sure to go over any questions or concerns you may have for our Bellevue dentist, Dr. Young Lee.