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No Smoking Day: Should the Sphere of Influence of the Dental Team be Extended to Smoking Cessation?

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No Smoking Day 9th March 2016

As tobacco use has been cited as a major risk factor for periodontal disease and peri-implantitis. Is it time we took a look at the quality of our smoking cessation support within the surgery?

After 5 years of loading, smokers experienced almost twice as many implant failures compared with non-smokers. This clearly demonstrates that good maintenance of implants does not solely rely on good plaque control. At a recent BSP scientific meeting Prof  Renvert stressed the importance of offering a smoking cessation programme to smokers well before implants are placed. The effect of smoking on periodontal disease and oral malignancy is also well documented, yet many clinicians find it difficult to approach smokers on this issue. In fact giving the wrong advice or taking the wrong approach can be counterproductive.

Is it a matter of time before this becomes a litigious issue if we have not made reasonable efforts to help smokers to quit?

Understanding how to deal with addiction is key to the issue and there is plenty of support and training for frontline health workers including dental teams, to develop the necessary skills to provide effective smoking cessation advice. The skills are generally developed fairly easily and the training is not intensive. 

The NCSCT estimate that it should take 30 seconds to engage in a productive conversation encouraging an individual to consider a quit attempt. This can be achieved even in a busy dental practice.

Studies have shown that 73% of smokers want to quit but lack either the confidence or motivation to do as. As a profession we are experts in health behaviour change and have a duty of care to our patients to provide the gold standard of care.

 Author Jo Dickinson

Posted by Gemma

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