People smile an average of 400 times per day, and if you are in recovery, you will probably have many more reasons to smile as you enter a world with a plethora of possibilities. Smiling isn’t just your introduction to the world. One UC Berkeley study has found that the wider the smile, the more fulfilled and happy people tend to be. Substance abuse can affect the teeth and gums in many ways, potentially causing disease or loss of teeth. If you are considering having dental work, you might wish to discuss some of the following treatments with your dentist.

Common Oral Health Problems

The misuse or abuse of drugs can cause issues that can impair the integrity of your gums and teeth. These include dry mouth, acid reflux, loss of blood flow to vital tissues in the mouth, tooth grinding, and nutritional deficiencies. Daily oral hygiene (including brushing and flossing) may also be affected. Therefore, one of the very first steps to a beautiful smile is restoring health to the teeth and gums.

Dental Cleaning

A professional dental cleaning and polish will remove plaque and help reduce gum inflammation. If tartar infection has caused infection in the gums, a more profound type of cleaning (called periodontal scaling or root planning) may be recommended. Root planning involves cleaning of the roots and the area beneath the gum line. Once all plaque is removed, your gums can adhere healthily to teeth, keeping them stable and preventing tooth and bone loss.

Orthodontics To Improve Sleep

During recovery, it is important to sleep well so you wake up every day feeling energized and ready to take on the day. If your bite is off or your dentist recommends your palate or jaw need expanding, he or she may recommend the use of orthodontics such as braces, retainers or palate expanders. Braces can improve rest as well as straighten and align your teeth. When teeth are misaligned or your jaw is badly positioned, you can be more likely to engage in mouth breathing (which can impair tooth and gum health) and teeth grinding. These, alongside jaw disorders such as TMD, can stop you from entering crucial sleep cycles and make you feel tired when you wake up in the morning.

Veneers For Improved Aesthetics

If you aren’t missing any teeth but you want a quick alternative to orthodontics, your dentist may recommend veneers – fine porcelain structures which can be affixed to the teeth for a straighter, whiter look. In order to place veneers, dentists normally shave the existing tooth then affix the veneer onto the tooth needing correction. Veneers aren’t required for all teeth; usually with just a few added to the top or bottom row of teeth, a significant difference can be made. Your dentist may recommend that other teeth be whitened to match the tone of your new veneers.

Implants To Replace Missing Teeth

Implants have come a long way recently. A new concept called ‘smile design’ enables dentists to present you with what your new smile will look like with the implant shape and color you choose. If you have lost teeth because of substance abuse, it is important to have implants fitted as soon as possible. Putting off treatment too long can result in bone loss. In order to fit securely in your mouth, implants must have enough bone to adhere to. If you lack bone, another option is to opt for bone implantation prior to being fitted for implants.

During addiction, nutritional deficiencies and other habits such as tooth grinding can lead to cavities, missing teeth, or infected gums. There are many treatments your doctor can recommend to recreate the perfect smile. From a deep clean to crowns, implants or veneers, there are many options ranging in price, quality and longevity.


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