Smoking and Root Canals in Lake Forest

Smoking is bad for you. You know that. You’re probably well aware of the fact that smoking can lead to a laundry list of health problems, including emphysema, heart disease, and cancer. But did you know smoking can also increase your chances of needing a root canal procedure? Our Lake Forest dentist Dr. James Fondriest would like to share information about how smoking could land you in the dentist’s chair.

Smokers More Likely to Need Root Canals

A study that followed 811 men for 2 to 28 years found that men who smoked cigarettes were twice as likely to need root canal treatments. The men ranged in age from 21 to 84. The smokers’ risk increased with the number of years they had smoked and decreased relative to their years of abstinence. Smoking hinders the body’s ability to fight infection, increases inflammation, and can cause vascular problems. Researchers believe any or all of these side effects could contribute to damage of the tooth pulp.

What is a Root Canal Treatment

A root canal treatment involves the removal of the pulp of a tooth when it becomes infected. The pulp is located in the center of the tooth and contains blood vessels and nerves. Root canal treatment is a common procedure with a 90 to 95 percent success rate.

How to Quit Smoking

Quitting smoking can be a daunting task. But proper planning and support can improve your success in making one of the healthiest decisions of your life. Here are some helpful tips from the American Cancer Society:


  • Pick a quit day and stick to it.
  • Tell your friends and family about your quit day to help you stay accountable.
  • Discard all your cigarettes and ash trays.
  • Buy plenty of sugar-free gum and healthy snacks such as carrot sticks and celery. These will satisfy your oral fixation and improve your oral health at the same time.
  • Settle on a nicotine replacement and stock up.
  • Avoid situations that make you want to smoke.
  • Avoid people who are smoking.
  • Limit alcohol consumption or avoid it altogether.

The Next Step

It is certainly easier to make your smile look better if you quite smoking. Your smile will have fewer stains and your gums will be healthier.

Dr. Fondriest knows that quitting smoking can be difficult. Celebrate your decision to improve your oral and overall healthy by scheduling an appointment for a checkup and cleaning with Dr. Fondriest. To schedule a consultation at our Lake Forest dentist office, contact us at (847) 234-0517. We serve the Chicago, Illinois area.