How Long Should I Wait to Smoke After Tooth Extraction?

If you have just had a major tooth extraction, you may be wondering when it is ok to smoke after the oral procedure. And if you are a chain-smoker, even delaying a few hours can be very difficult. However, it is important to know that smoking directly after tooth extraction can nearly double or triple your healing process time.

What happens if you smoke after getting a tooth pulled?

Cigarettes contain chemical toxins that can delay your healing process to a great extent. Smoking after tooth removal can also cause some after-surgery complications, which can be hard to get over. The toxins from cigarette smoke can cause gum inflammation and irritation around the extraction site and cause pain and swelling (something that can be avoided by not smoking).

Smoking too soon after an extraction can also create a severe complication called a dry socket. A dry socket can make it extremely difficult to open your mouth, cause intense pain on the whole side of the face and expel an extremely bad smell in the mouth

After tooth extraction, your extraction site recovery will begin when blood clots start to form to aid in your healing. The act of physically smoking can dislodge these blood clots, leading to an increase in healing time. Expelling blood clots can be avoided by not smoking or drinking from a straw or anything similar.

When Can I Smoke After a Tooth Extraction?

If you are a smoker, abstaining from smoking may be challenging, and you may want to know the safest waiting time before having the first cigarette after surgery. Although smoking is never recommended, dental professionals typically suggest you hold off from smoking for at least 72 hours or three days. During this time, blood clots will form and immediately start the healing process, and it will be harder to disrupt this process after three days.

Talk to your dentist about the timing that may be best for you. The minimum wait time usually starts at 3 days, but it can be longer if you have had multiple extractions (like wisdom tooth removal). Follow the recommendations of your dentist to ensure the healing process goes smoothly.

How can I smoke and not get a dry socket?

If you are not at all interested in quitting tobacco use, the following tips may help reduce your risk of dry socket:
  • Wait at least 72 hours after your surgery before smoking. When you resume smoking, inhale very gently.
  • Switch to a nicotine patch.
  • Keep the gauze in place over your socket while smoking.
  • Ask your dentist for stitches on your surgery site.
  • Avoid chewing tobacco or nicotine gum.
If you plan to resume smoking use after your surgery, ask your dentist or oral surgeon when you are allowed to start.

Quitting Smoking

If you have had oral surgery, this may be the perfect time to work on your plan to quit smoking. When you are compelled to abstain from smoking for dental reasons, it can be much easier to continue to not smoke shortly afterward. If not, make sure you stop for at least the recommended time, or the specific time recommended by your dentist. Again, all healing times can differ depending on your body and the severity of your surgery.

Tooth Extraction Aftercare

  • To help your extraction site heal more quickly, limit heavy activity, avoid alcohol, hot beverages, hard foods, and smoking.
  • Avoid cleaning the area for the first 24 hours, and make sure you are using a soft-bristled toothbrush.
  • If you suspect something's not right after the surgery, don't hesitate to contact your dentist.

With the right care and smoke-free days, your recovery should go smoothly, and you'll be back to smiling in no time.

If you have any questions related to smoking after tooth removal, please feel free to call Kipling Family Dentistry at (416) 614-6633.