E-cigarettes have become an increasingly popular alternative to traditional, combustible cigarettes. They are often touted as a safer alternative to combustible cigarettes, but there are still potential dangers. While e-cigarettes likely have a lower risk of cancer, gum disease, and similar health effects, they can catch fire and even explode.
We used to think that these types of injuries were rare. A 2014 report from the US Fire Administration only collected 25 reports of these types of injuries–mostly reported by the media–from 2009-2014. But with the rapid growth in popularity of these devices and the expansion of manufacturers and products in recent years, the number of related injuries may have also grown to alarming numbers.
Unfortunately, for many people, e-cigarette injuries can cause tooth damage and even tooth loss. But with restorative dentistry, many people can have their smile restored to full health and beauty after these kinds of traumatic injuries.
How Many Injuries?
There are really no good estimates for the number of e-cigarette injuries in the US. Media reporting of these incidents is uneven, with some receiving attention, but many going unreported. But there is some evidence that there are many such incidents. In a letter to the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM), a group of doctors from the University of Washington Medical Center (UWMC) reported that there were 15 people seeking treatment for e-cigarette injuries at their hospital in 9 months, from October 2015-June 2016.
If the UWMC population is typical, that may mean nearly 15,000 such injuries in the US, each year. It’s likely that the UWMC population is not typical, since college students are more likely to adopt vaping than older individuals. However, even half this estimate represents a significant number of serious injuries each year.
Translating it to our community, it may mean perhaps 260-520 such injuries in Anchorage each year. This can lead to the destruction of many people’s smiles.
Restoring Smiles after E-Cigarette Injury
A recent vaping injury shows us how terrible the damage can be. This young man lost two teeth in the explosion and had seven others that had to be extracted as a result of the injuries to the teeth and his jaw.
There have not been reports of deaths related to e-cigs yet, but the UWMC letter breaks down the types of injuries received: 80% had flame burns, 33% had chemical burns, and 27% had blast injuries. Surprisingly, the face was a less common area affected, accounting for only 20% of the injuries, with the hands (33%) and thigh or groin (53%) accounting for most of the injuries.
When an e-cigarette explodes, it can cause damage to teeth and tooth loss. Reconstructive dentistry can restore damaged teeth. When teeth are lost, dental implants and implant dentures can be used to replace them.
If you have suffered an injury to your teeth from e-cigarettes, car accidents, or another cause, we can restore your smile. Please call (907) 349-0022 today for an appointment with an Anchorage cosmetic dentist at Excellence in Dentistry.