Smoking breaks this clot and can lead to dry socket, which is painful and slows healing.
The sucking action from smoking a cigarette dislodges blood clots at the extraction site. To avoid this, follow these tips on how to smoke after tooth extraction without getting dry socket.
Wait at Least 72 Hours After Surgery
Smoking is bad for your teeth, gums, and overall health. It can also be difficult to quit smoking, especially if you have developed a habit of it. This is why it is important to stop using tobacco products for a few days after having a tooth extraction, if possible.
If you smoke a cigarette or use other tobacco products after your surgery, you can damage the blood clot that is developing at the site of the extraction and cause painful complications like dry socket. The best way to prevent dry socket is to avoid smoking or other tobacco products after your procedure and instead rely on nicotine patches, gum, or lozenges that don’t require sucking.
If you’re a heavy smoker, this may be a good opportunity to use this as an excuse to try to quit. Your dentist may even be able to offer suggestions on how to quit and help you through the process.
A tooth extraction is an invasive procedure. It leaves a hole in your mouth where the tooth once was, and it’s not uncommon for the socket to bleed after the procedure. It takes time for a blood clot to form in that empty space and help the healing process begin.
Smoking directly after your tooth extraction can have a negative impact on the healing process. Inhaling a cigarette or even sucking on a straw can dislodge the blood clot and send you back to square one, starting the bleeding over again.
Dry socket is a painful condition that develops when something disrupts or dissolves the blood clot in your mouth. The clot protects bone and nerve tissue and helps your gums heal, so it’s important that it remains intact until you’ve healed from tooth removal surgery.
Avoiding smoking and drinking through a straw after a tooth extraction reduces the likelihood of developing a dry socket. However, if you can’t wait 72 hours to smoke again, rinse your mouth with warm salt water before you do. Mix a teaspoon of salt into 8 ounces of warm water and swish it around your mouth, gently rinsing the wound. This can help to reduce the risk of a dry socket and prevent infection. You can also apply a cold compress to the area, which reduces swelling and pain.
Avoid Smokeless Tobacco
Smoking is bad for your oral health in general, but it’s particularly damaging after tooth extraction. Smoking interrupts healing and increases the risk of dry socket (also called alveolar osteitis) in this sensitive surgical area. Dry socket is characterized by intense pain and throbbing. It’s also accompanied by bleeding, pus formation, and slowing of healing.
Smokeless tobacco is no better, as the sucking action involved in chewing or suckling on smokeless products can dislodge the blood clot and cause dry socket. Moreover, particles from the tobacco can get stuck in the blood clot, which can result in irritation and infection.
Your dentist will place sterile gauze over the surgical wound to reduce pressure and prevent food or liquid from entering the site of the tooth extraction. It’s important to keep this clot in place as it is the source of protection for the surgical wound and a key step towards avoiding dry socket.
If you are a smoker, it’s best to abstain from smoking for at least 72 hours following a tooth extraction. If you are unable to abstain, be transparent with your dentist and follow their guidelines for safe smoking. For example, they may recommend you eat soft foods like soups and smoothies, drink plenty of fluids throughout the day, take over-the-counter pain medication (but not aspirin), and use a mouth rinse to help with odor and inflammation.
Rinse Your Mouth
A tooth extraction is a traumatic experience for most people. This is because the underlying bone and nerve are exposed. As a result, it’s critical to protect the area with a blood clot until it’s healed. The sucking action associated with smoking can dislodge this clot, which can lead to a painful condition called dry socket.
To prevent dry socket after having a tooth extraction, rinse your mouth gently with warm water. Do not spit, or use a straw, as this could dislodge the clot. You should also avoid suckless tobacco, as this can reduce blood flow to the site and prevent the clot from healing properly.
If you must smoke, do so very sparingly. The best thing to do is try to quit smoking altogether after having a tooth extraction. If this is not an option for you, consider using your surgery as a catalyst to start a new, healthy habit. Eat soft foods, like applesauce or yogurt, instead of the crunchy and hard foods you normally eat. This will help the site heal more effectively, and it will allow you to slowly break your addiction to nicotine.
Tobacco and smokeless products contain chemicals that can prevent or slow healing after a tooth extraction. The chemicals can get into the wound and cause irritation or infection. Other things that can increase your risk of developing a dry socket include alcohol and hot liquids, which can damage the socket, and certain birth control pills, which have high estrogen levels that can disrupt the clot’s formation.