Can I smoke after a tooth extraction procedure?

For most, having a tooth removed means a few days of pain, swelling, and restricted eating. For smokers, the tooth extractions in poulsbo washington experience can be a little more difficult. If your dentist recently told you you need to have a tooth extracted and you are a regular smoker, you will want to discuss with them specifically how this process differs for you. The biggest hurdle will be that your dentist will recommend you temporarily stop using tobacco after the procedure for at least 72 hours, or 3 days. If a tooth extraction procedure is in your future it is important to be prepared, not only for what to expect from the procedure, but also from the recovery period. A better understanding of what to expect and what you need to do will ensure a quicker recovery. Below is more information to help you understand why it is important to take a break from smoking and tobacco use for a short period of time following a tooth extraction procedure.

Why is not smoking after a tooth extraction so important?

Smoking cigarettes introduces chemicals into our bodies that can immediately delay the healing process. Immediately after a procedure when our gums and mouth tissues are sensitive and recovering, these chemicals can be harmful. Exposing healing gums to chemical toxins can lead to potentially serious complications including:

Dry sockets: A dry socket is a fairly serious condition that results from the underlying bone and nerves becoming exposed after a tooth extraction. Immediately after a tooth is removed, your body creates a blood clot to cover and protect the newly exposed bone and nerve. If that blood clot is lost or dislodged, the bone and nerve may become exposed. Symptoms of dry sockets include a bad smell in the mouth and severe pain. Dry sockets usually develop within the first 1-3 days after an extraction procedure.

Blood clot loss: Besides the potential for dry sockets, the process of inhaling and exhaling while smoking can create additional issues. Inhaling or exhaling repeatedly can lead to the loosening of the blood clots that are necessary to help your gums and tissue heal. The blood clot not only serves as a protective layer covering the bone and nerve endings, but it is also the foundation of growth for new soft tissue in the socket. Losing a blood clot may increase the time it takes for your body to heal, lengthening the period of pain and discomfort post-extraction procedure.

Overall, the chemicals introduced into the mouth by smoking can cause a general delay in healing, resulting in a longer period of discomfort. In general, if you make it 3 days after the extraction procedure without developing pain or the symptoms described above, you are likely in the clear and on your way to a healthy recovery. If you do end up smoking during your recovery and experience inflammation, severe pain, or think you have developed dry sockets, you should contact your dentist immediately. Over-the-counter medications may not be able to treat symptoms and additional treatment may be required to avoid further delay in healing.

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