Can I Smoke After Tooth Extraction?
Tooth extraction can be a very stressful and painful procedure, and if you're a heavy smoker, you might be eager to smoke a cigarette (or two!) After that lengthy dental surgery, but don't! Smoking immediately after tooth extraction will seriously affect the healing of the extraction site and can potentially lead to a dry socket. If you are a heavy smoker, it is strongly recommended that you wait at least 72 hours after your extraction before you can smoke again.
Smoking after tooth extraction: Why is it dangerous to smoke after tooth extraction?
Cigarettes contain many chemicals and toxins that negatively impact bone growth and healing.
Short term effect:
What remains after a tooth has been extracted is where the roots of the tooth were driven into the bone, this is called a socket. After extraction, this cavity quickly fills with blood and after some time this blood hardens and forms a blood clot. The most important thing to ensure proper healing after tooth extraction is the formation of this blood clot in the remaining socket. Smoking reduces the amount and flow of blood in these alveoli, and it actually has a direct impact on the blood clots, which are then dislodged and removed from the alveolus, leaving behind a nearly empty cavity, leaving your bone exposed. This means that your body continues to bleed into the socket in an attempt to create a blood clot, but due to the smoke this clot cannot stay in place and is either spat out or swallowed with the smoke. The most common complication is dry socket, which is a socket that does not contain a blood clot. It is a "dry cavity" which is extremely painful because the bone is exposed. Dry socket can also be caused by just sucking, like drinking through a straw! Inhaling smoke can also cause inflammation of the gums and swelling of the gums, which prolongs healing time and increases bleeding, and most importantly, causes more pain!
Long term effect:
After your tooth is extracted, if the blood in the socket can form a clot, over time it hardens even more and turns into collagen and bone. Smoking directly affects the growth of this bone, and if you smoke a lot after an extraction, it can impact the time it takes for this bone to form, including its quality.
When is it safe to smoke after tooth extraction?
If a blood clot has formed in the socket of a tooth, and the clot remains unhindered by external sources, it is a good start to the healing process. The blood clot usually forms the first day after tooth extraction but can take several days. Therefore, as mentioned above, it is strongly advised that you do not smoke for at least 72 hours after tooth extraction. During this initial period, healing will allow blood clots to form, stop bleeding from the socket and start the healing process.
Smoking after tooth extraction - Final words
In general, it is advisable to cut down on smoking (this may be a good time to stop smoking), but if you must smoke, do so after 3 days and when the blood has stopped oozing completely.