Can I Smoke After a Tooth Extraction?

It’s no secret that smoking is harmful to our health. However, this is particularly true after having teeth extracted. While cigarettes and other nicotine products can be incredibly addictive, it’s important to refrain from smoking and using tobacco products for at least 72 hours after tooth extraction. Smoking negatively impacts your health, can dislodge blood clots which can lead to a painful condition called a dry socket, and can prolong the healing process overall.

Suction is Prohibited After Tooth Extraction

One of the reasons smoking is harmful after a tooth extraction is because of the suction required to inhale the cigarette smoke. All forms of suction are prohibited while healing after an extraction, including sucking through a straw and spitting.

Both the inhalation and exhalation of a cigarette can be enough to dislodge blood clots at the extraction site. Forming blood clots at the extraction site is extremely important for your healing. If a blood clot becomes disturbed, dislodged, or prevented from forming in the first place, this can lead to a dry socket, which is very painful.

Smoking Increases Risk of Dry Socket

A dry socket is a condition that occurs after having a tooth extracted if no blood clot ever develops or if it becomes dislodged or somehow dissolves. It is very painful because it exposes the underlying nerves and jawbone at the socket and delays the healing process. 

Smoking greatly increases the risk of developing a dry socket after extraction. Non-smokers have just a 4% chance of developing a dry socket, while smokers and tobacco users have a 12% risk. This can occur within 3-4 days after the extraction. 

You should contact your dentist if you notice any of the following symptoms:

  • Partially dislodged or no blood clot at the site of extraction
  • Visible jawbone in the socket
  • Radiating pain on the side of the extraction
  • Bad breath and or a bad taste in the mouth

Smoking Reduces Blood Flow & Oxygen Supply

The other issue with smoking is that it contains harmful chemicals and additives which not only lead to cancer but interfere with the healing process. Smoking constricts the blood vessels and reduces the amount of oxygen in the blood. 

This prevents much-needed oxygen and nutrients from reaching the gums, which prolongs the healing process. The nicotine inside cigarettes and other tobacco products also increases bleeding and inflammation.

How to Reduce Smoking & Tobacco Use

If you are a regular smoker, you should use this as an opportunity to quit. If quitting isn’t an option for you, it is crucial that you refrain from smoking or using tobacco products for at least 72 hours after having a tooth extracted if you want to heal properly.

Since these products are incredibly addictive, it can be helpful to keep your hands busy and your mind occupied on other things while abstaining from tobacco use. It could also be a good idea to try to wean yourself off of or reduce the amount that you smoke leading up to your extraction. 

While there are products on the market such as nicotine gum or vaping, these are not recommended to be used after an extraction either. Vaping poses the same risk of dry socket as smoking cigarettes do because of the suction and chewing any type of gum after extraction is prohibited because it can be too hard on the jaw.

Tooth Extraction at Oak Creek Dental Care

Do you need a tooth extraction? Whether you need your wisdom teeth removed, have dental trauma, or severely decayed teeth, you’ll be in good hands at Oak Creek Dental Care. Contact us at (414) 762-9010 to schedule an appointment with Dr. Ehsan Saleki today.

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