For more than 100 years the University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Dentistry has provided exceptional dental education and service to Nebraskans and beyond through premier educational programs, innovative research and clinical care.
From regular checkups and cleanings to braces and dentures, the dental college provides the highest quality patient care in all areas at affordable costs. To find out more about programs and services visit the website at http://www.unmc.edu/dentistry or call 402-472-1301.
|Peter Giannini, D.D.S., is an associate professor of oral pathology in the department of oral biology at the University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Dentistry. He also is the director of the tobacco cessation clinic.
|What are the oral health side effects of tobacco use?
“The oral health side effects of tobacco use, the main one we’re all concerned about is oral cancer of course because that’s the most serious side effect. It’s a life-threatening side effect of tobacco use. Other potential side effects would be the increased risk of periodontal or gum disease in these patients. Bad breath and staining of the teeth are also issues that patients have with long-term tobacco use. And in addition, patients who do smoke or use smokeless tobacco, if they’ve had any type of oral surgery or periodontal surgery, their wounds would take longer to heal because of their smoking habit.”
|Why should dentists be familiar with treating patients who desire to quit using tobacco products?
“Well it’s important because in many cases patients see their dentists more often than they do their physicians, especially patients who have dental insurance and also those who have the means to pay for dental treatment, therefore the dentist is really at the forefront of counseling patients who are smokers. Approximately 25 to 30 percent patients at least in Nebraska are smokers so a dentist who see smokers on a regular basis in addition to quitting smoking for their oral health is obviously very beneficial for their overall systemic health as well.”
|When do most people begin habitually using tobacco products?
“Well most people, about 90 percent of patients who are habitual tobacco users begin before the age of 20 and approximately 50 percent begin before the age of 15. So therefore, it is very important, especially dentists who see pediatric patients and young adults to encourage these patients not to begin smoking in the first place because the vast majority of patients are going to be children and young adults that start smoking and it’s very rare for anyone after the age of 20 to become new habitual tobacco users.”
|What does the treatment for tobacco cessation entail?
“The treatment for tobacco sensation consists of three separate counseling appointments. The first appointment would be an interview where we basically review the patient’s medical history and make sure they are a good candidate for tobacco sensation, that they are a candidate who actually desires to quit and also we want to assess to make sure that there are no conflicts in the medications that we prescribe to patient. We make sure the medical history doesn’t contradict that medication that we use. The second appointment consists of behavioral counseling, behavioral modification therapy and then the final appointment is more of a follow-up appointment where we basically ask the patient if they have any side effects as a result of the medication and we ask the patient if they have any problems, they can call us anytime if there are any problems with therapy or problems with relapse.”
COD Fast Facts:
The UNMC College of Dentistry at a glance.
Proud History: For 13 of the past 18 years the college ranks highest in incoming GPA of any dentistry program in the USA.
Quality Education: Our students consistently shine with high board scores in both the dental and dental hygiene programs and the college offers strong residency programs in endodontics, general dentistry, orthodontics, pediatric dentistry and periodontics.
Service: Our commitment to service is evident in the strong clinical community service programs that provide outreach to underserved populations across the state.