If you need a tooth extraction in Atlanta and you’re also a smoker, you may be wondering when you can start smoking after your extraction. Can you smoke right away, or do you have to wait? How long should you wait before you start smoking again? What can happen if you start smoking too soon after an extraction? In this blog from Greater Atlanta Oral Facial Surgery, we’ll answer all of these questions and more.
Smoking After A Tooth Extraction Dramatically Raises Your Risk Of Complications
Smoking immediately after a tooth extraction is a really bad idea, and there are a couple of reasons why. The first reason is related to the physical action of smoking.
When you smoke a cigarette, you inhale deeply and suck air into your mouth and lungs through the cigarette. Then, you exhale forcefully to expel the smoke from your lungs and mouth. When you smoke after an extraction, the sucking action and exhalation of smoking can dislodge the blood clot that forms over your now-empty tooth socket.
This blood clot forms naturally after your extraction, and it helps protect your socket as it heals. But if this blood clot is dislodged, this causes a condition called “dry socket.” Dry socket can cause lots of pain, raise your risk of infections, and lead to other complications if it’s left untreated. Smokers are about 3x more likely to develop dry socket, compared to non-smokers.
Dry socket is also why Dr. Shahriari and other dentists recommend avoiding forceful spitting and using straws for at least 2-3 days after your extraction. Spitting or using a straw can also dislodge your blood clot, causing dry socket.
The other reason that smoking is bad after a tooth extraction is related to the chemicals and harmful substances that cigarette smoke contains. Tobacco smoke contains nicotine, which is a stimulant and may lead to increased inflammation and bleeding. Smoking cigarettes also temporarily inhibits the oxygenation of blood, reducing your overall oxygen levels. This can impair and slow the overall healing process.
Quitting Is Best – But If You Smoke, Wait At Least 72 Hours After Your Tooth Extraction
Quitting smoking completely is the best way to make sure your mouth heals properly after an extraction, and it has lots of benefits for your dental health and overall health, too. So if you are a smoker and you’re having a tooth extracted, this is a great time to consider quitting.
But if you are a smoker and plan to continue smoking, you must wait at least 72 hours after your extraction before you have a cigarette, at a minimum. Ideally, you should wait at least 5-7 days, or longer if you can.
This is because dry socket usually occurs within 3-5 days of tooth extraction, but it can happen at any time until your gums have completely healed. The longer you wait, the less likely you are to develop dry socket.
Need Tooth Extractions In Greater Atlanta? Come To Our Office For A Consultation
If you think that you need a tooth extraction in the greater Atlanta area, Dr. Abtin Shahriari and the team at Greater Atlanta Oral Facial Surgery are here to help. Oral surgery is our specialty, and no case is too complex for our team. Contact us online or give us a call at (404) 433-8433 today. We’re always accepting new patients, and we’re happy to help you get relief from your pain, restore your smile, and get your oral health back on track.