Few studies have investigated smoking as a risk factor for root canal treatment. We studied the effect of smoking on the incidence of root canal treatment, controlling for recognized risk factors, in 811 dentate male participants in the VA Dental Longitudinal Study. Participants were not VA patients. Follow-up ranged from 2 to 28 years. Root canal treatment was verified on radiographs and evaluated with proportional hazards regression models. Compared with never-smokers, current cigarette smokers were 1.7 times as likely to have root canal treatment (p <0.001), but cigar and/or pipe use was not significantly associated with root canal treatment. The risk among cigarette smokers increased with more years of exposure and decreased with length of abstinence. These findings suggest that there is a dose-response relationship between cigarette smoking and the risk of root canal treatment.
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