Are you about to undergo tooth extraction surgery? If yes, then the chances are that you are anxious about the procedure. And if you are a smoker, you need to take extra precautions. Your dentist might advise you not to do smoking after tooth extraction and before the surgery. It is not a very comfortable ride, but we are here to help you through it!
Most adults need to go for tooth extraction in case of a wisdom tooth. There are several risks of smoking after wisdom tooth removal. Still, a typical smoker’s concerns are that how seriously should I take doctor’s instructions? And can I smoke after tooth extraction?
We will explain the reasons behind your dentist’s restriction on smoking both before and after the surgery.
Hazards of Smoking Before Tooth Extraction Surgery
Check out the reason why your dentist asks you to stop smoking at least 72 hours prior to your surgery:
Affects Healing Process
It is found in a study that smokers face more pain, bleeding, facial swelling, postoperative infections, and complications than non-smokers after oral surgery.
Providing you anesthesia will become a tricky job for the anesthesiologist if you are a smoker. Smoking compromises your respiratory system. Hence, you will need more anesthesia than a non-smoker, which is risky if not done right. Your anesthesiologist needs to ensure that excess anesthesia does not harm your respiratory system.
It is no secret that the heart and lungs of a smoker are not in a healthy state. Thus during the surgery, your chances of catching an infection, pneumonia, or getting a heart attack increases. If you stop smoking before a significant time of the surgery, your organs can function on an optimum level.
Things to Do Before Tooth Extraction Surgery
- Not to eat or drink anything after midnight on the night before surgery.
- Not to smoke for at least 12 hours before the surgery.
Hazards of Smoking After Wisdom Teeth Removal or Other Tooth Extraction
Dentists restrict smoking for at least 72 hours after the tooth extraction surgery. Yes, it is uncomfortable and irritating for smokers to refrain from smoking for 3 days. But you should make up your mind to stop smoking to avoid post-surgery complications. Let’s check out what happens if you smoke after getting a tooth pulled:
Dry Socket is a condition where the healing bones and nerves get exposed. This exposure may cause severe pain, swelling, and smell. It is proven that dry socket happens in 5.1% of smokers post tooth extraction surgery. In contrast, only 2.1% of non-smokers face this dreaded condition after tooth extraction.
Loss of Blood Clot
Small blood clots are formed near the wounds after the surgery. They help in the healing process. Smoking after wisdom tooth extraction creates suction while inhaling and exhaling the smoke. This suction puts pressure on the clots, and they may get lost. Thus your healing process will get delayed. This loss of blood clot can result in a dry socket as well.
Increases Bleeding & Inflammation
The toxins in cigarettes are not at all suitable for your open wounds of surgery. Nicotine-containing smoke can increase internal and external bleeding. It can even stimulate inflammation. Nicotine can rob your blood of oxygen which is a prerequisite of any healing process.
Harms Overall Health
Your immunity and physical strength are not at their best after the surgery due to wear and tear and blood loss. You can be vulnerable to pain, infections, inflammations, and other health issues. Avoiding smoking for some time will provide a detoxification break to your whole body.
Things to Do After Tooth Extraction Surgery
- Distract your mind with a new hobby like painting or playing a musical instrument. Whatever keeps your hands busy & distracted!
- Do meditation, breathing exercises, and yoga to divert your mind from the urge to smoke.
- In case of discomfort or experience any pain, visit your dentist right away.
It is easier said than done for smokers to leave smoking. But your resolve of a few days can save you pain and discomfort of many days. We hope that understanding the link between tooth extraction and smoking will motivate you to follow your dentist’s instructions diligently.
Dr. Anu Isaac, DMD, runs a successful dental practice in Salem, MA. Dr. Isaac strives for quality on a daily basis and this commitment to quality is reflected in her constant pursuit of advanced training. Her firm belief that even experts need to stay updated about what’s new in the dental field, enables her to provide every patient with optimal oral care. As the founder of Coral Dental Care, she is dedicated to creating healthy, beautiful smiles for her patients and also to educating dental and non-dental community with her engaging articles on all things related to oral health, recent dental innovations, and latest treatment modalities.