AVAILABLE 24 HOURS A DAY!
1-866-992-4165
   
   
Dentist located in: OR
Dentistry.com dental articles & forum
Home Conditions Treatments Dental Daily Care Dental Forum Product Showcase Are You a Dentist?
Looking for a
Dentist?
Do you have dental coverage?
    
Home > Daily Dental Care > Nutrition Information > Chronic Alcohol and Drug Abuse Detected by Dentists
Bookmark and Share

Chronic Alcohol and Drug Abuse Detected by Dentists

 
Drug and alcohol abuse can cause dental problems.

Dentists often are the first health care professionals to detect the abuses caused by alcohol and drug consumption, says a Chicago dentist.

"Those who suffer from substance abuse frequently neglect the care of their teeth and gums," explains David Miller, D.D.S., a general dentist who practices on Chicago's South Side.

"Addictions change the priorities of a person's life," he says. "Instead of caring for their health, most addicts spend their time caring for their addiction. And nowhere else in the body can the effects of an addiction be seen more dramatically than in the mouth."

Dr. Miller says that alcohol and drug addicts generally have poor oral hygiene, as well as more tooth decay and missing teeth.

"Addicts have more periodontal disease," he says. "Also, dentists who have addicts as patients see more grinding of teeth at night when they sleep. Addicts also have more yeast infections, which can lead to painful sore tongues and mouths."

Dr. Miller encourages addicts to seek dental care and to be open with dentists about their abuse problems. "Obviously, patients who are addicted to drugs or alcohol are not very likely to tell us about their problems, unless they are in recovery and truly want to kick their habits," he says. "However, it's important for those with addictions to inform their dentists about their abuse because this information dictates the use of medications and dental treatments in patients. For example, dentists do not want to use sedatives or hypnotics in patients with addictions. Also, commonly used anesthetics for simple procedures can create complications for people who are high."

Another tip-off for dentists who suspect drug abuse are patients who are more interested in prescriptions instead of dental care. "Every dentist can tell a story about patients who clearly want to get a prescription when it normally would not be warranted," says Dr. Miller. "Some patients get very aggressive, and others have even robbed dental offices of medications on the premises." However, he says, dentists cannot cavalierly distribute controlled substances  -- not only are they monitored by state officials, but are contrary to dental ethics.

Remember, only a dentist can diagnose your dental problems and offer the right treatment plan for you. If you need a dentist, call us at 1-866-970-0441 to be connected with one today.

Bad Breath
Bruxism
Cavities
Cleft Palate
Cold Sores
Dental Anxiety
Dental Emergency
Gum Disease
Malocclusion
Mouth Problems
Oral Cancer
Sleep Apnea
Teeth Problems
TMJ & TMD
Toothache
Wisdom Teeth
See All
Cosmetic Dentistry
Dental Braces
Dental Implants
Dental Restorations
Dentures
Exams & Cleaning
Fillings & Sealants
Gum Disease Treatment
Mouthguards
Oral Surgery
Root Canal Therapy
Sedation Dentistry
Teeth Whitening
Tooth Extractions
Veneers
See All
Dental Financing
Dental Hygiene
Medications
Nutrition Information
Overall Health
Pediatric Dentistry
Senior Dental Care
Your Dentist Visit
See All