Can I Smoke After Tooth Extraction?

If you smoke, you know how difficult it can be to quit, even temporarily. Regardless of this difficulty, smoking too shortly after any tooth extraction is incredibly risky and can cause significant harm to the oral cavity. This includes the wisdom tooth extraction procedure, which is one of the more common extraction procedures and therefore one of the more widely researched. Smoking is unhealthy overall, as everyone knows, but it is particularly unhealthy for patients who are healing from a tooth extraction procedure.

Cigarette smoke contains toxins that enter the gum tissue and the bloodstream and delay healing. These toxins, combined with the mechanics of smoking, can cause complications in the healing process, including inflammation and dry socket. A dry socket is an intensely painful condition that is characterized by a foul smell in the mouth, difficulty in opening the mouth, and pain that can extend beyond the extraction site and across the entire side of the face. The mechanics of smoking can also cause the healing blood clot to be expelled from the surgical site when it is first beginning to form. This blood clot is an important part of the healing of the tooth socket, and when it is disturbed by the intense inhalation of smoke, it can dislodge and cause a dry socket to form.

When the blood clot starts to develop at the extraction site, it protects the bone and nerve endings that lie exposed in the tooth socket. This blood clot also seeds the growth of new bone and soft tissue in the site. If the blood clot is displaced and the bone and nerves are exposed, the pain can be unbearable, concentrated in the dry socket while radiating all across the side of the face. If the dry socket swells or becomes filled with food debris, the pain increases. Pain associated with a dry socket usually starts within one to three days after the tooth is extracted. Dry sockets cannot be treated with over-the-counter medications or home remedies and necessitate a trip to the dentist or oral surgeon; your doctor can provide treatments to manage the pain and heal the dry socket. Some amount of discomfort or pain should be expected following the extraction of a tooth, but this pain should abate over the course of a few days and should be manageable with over-the-counter treatments. If your pain increases or if new pain develops following your extraction procedure, see your dentist as soon as you can.

Many dentists and oral surgeons recommend that patients use oral surgery as an impetus to quit smoking, but only the patient can control their own behavior. Whether permanent smoking cessation is achieved or not, dentists emphasize that patients should avoid smoking for at least 72 hours following an extraction. If you’re interested in trying to quit smoking for the long term, ask your dentist for a recommendation for a smoking cessation program. Smoking can cause multiple health complications, in the oral cavity and in the entire body, and it is particularly destructive following a tooth extraction procedure.

Wisdom Teeth Extraction