Smoking After Tooth Extraction
— How Long Should You Wait?
If you need to have your wisdom teeth removed soon, you may be wondering whether smoking after tooth extraction surgery is a good idea. If you can, it's best to avoid cigarettes after any oral surgery. Smoking can irritate your wound and prolong the healing process. Additionally, it may cause more pain and even lead to a dry socket. If you want to learn more details about wisdom teeth removal and why you should avoid smoking after tooth extraction, read on:
H2: Wisdom Teeth Removal
Most people get their wisdom teeth, or third molars, when they're 17 to 25 years old. Nowadays, these sets of teeth aren't as useful as they used to be. Additionally, they can cause many problems for people and may even need to be surgically removed. For example, if your jaw is too small or the wisdom teeth don't grow correctly, they will likely need to be extracted.
If you experience issues such as wisdom tooth pain or infection, you should contact your dentist. Avoiding a dental visit can lead to many easily avoidable issues. Firstly, you may develop a cyst around your wisdom tooth. Secondly, your wisdom tooth may cause damage to the tooth that’s next to it. And lastly, if your jaw is on the smaller side, it may not have enough room for all of your teeth. If your teeth are too close to each other, it can lead to food getting stuck between them quite easily. Additionally, they'll be harder to clean and floss.
Luckily, nowadays wisdom teeth surgery is quite common. It's done under general or local anesthesia, depending on the amount of damage and your comfort level. Wisdom tooth removal surgery takes less than an hour and the wound heals completely in about a week. If you want to learn more about wisdom teeth, you can read about their history and function on Wikipedia.
H3: Wisdom Teeth Recovery
Wisdom tooth removal is quite common and easy to do. However, the healing process depends on how difficult the surgery was and whether the anesthesia was general or local. If you choose to do the surgery under general anesthesia, you'll need some time to regain consciousness, and you won't be able to drive yourself home.
Your mouth will likely be swollen and painful for a few days. During that time, you shouldn't chew on hard foods or drink out of a straw. The recovery process takes about a week, and there aren't many things you can do to speed it up. However, treating the inflammation with an ice pack and OTC pain medication can be helpful.
Additionally, try to avoid using the side of your mouth where the extracted tooth was. You shouldn't brush your teeth for the first 24 hours. Furthermore, don't use mouthwash until the wound is completely healed. Don't drink anything out of a straw and avoid caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol, as they can irritate the gums.
H2: What Is a Dry Socket?
Once you remove a tooth, a clot forms over the removal site. The clot prevents irritation and aids in a quicker healing process. Additionally, it protects the bone and nerves under the wound. However, a lot of environmental factors can cause the clot to dislodge. That leads to a complication known as a dry socket.
Although dry sockets are rare, they are much more likely to happen if you had your wisdom teeth removed. The placing and size of the wisdom tooth lead to easier clot removal. Since only one tooth is next to the wisdom tooth, the area is much less likely to be safe from irritants such as smoke, food, or drinks.
H3: What Causes Dry Sockets After a Tooth Extraction?
Researchers aren't sure what causes the blood clot to dislodge. Anything, from bacteria to improper tooth removal can disrupt the socket. However, there are a few factors that contribute to dry socket formation. Firstly, cigarettes and tobacco products have chemicals that slow down the wound healing process. Additionally, the act of inhaling smoke can lead to blood clot dislodging.
Secondly, if you take birth control pills, they can prolong the healing process. Contraceptives contain high levels of estrogen. This hormone can cause blood to clot more slowly, which aids in dry socket formation. Lastly, if you don't take care of your wound, you may accidentally dislodge the blood clot. Be especially careful when washing your teeth and avoid straws and hard foods for a few days.
H2: Why Smoking After Tooth Extraction Is Not Advisable
If you smoke cigarettes and have to remove a tooth, you may be wondering whether smoking after tooth extraction surgery is a good idea. The truth is that smoking delays the healing process quite a bit. You should avoid cigarettes for as long as you can until your wound heals completely.
However, if you're an avid smoker, doing so may be difficult. Still, cigarettes contain chemicals that irritate the gums and mouth. The nicotine and toxins found in cigarettes cause gum inflammation. If your wound gets inflamed, it will hurt much more.
Additionally, as previously mentioned, smoking can cause dry sockets. The cigarette smoke can dislodge the blood clot that forms on top of the wound. That may lead to more bleeding, and the wound will heal much slower.
H3: How Long Should You Wait Before Smoking After Tooth Extraction
When deciding when to start smoking after tooth extraction surgery, it's better to be safe than sorry. If you can, you should avoid cigarettes completely until your wound heals. Your gums will take about a week to heal after tooth extraction. However, if you want to stay on the safe side, avoid smoking as much as you can for at least two weeks.
Still, if you have been a smoker for a long time, it may be too hard for you not to smoke for a week or longer. In that case, abstain from cigarettes for at least two days. The first 48 hours after a wisdom tooth removal surgery is when your gums are most sensitive. It's integral to pay special attention to what you eat and drink during that time. You should let the wound heal as much as possible, which means avoiding solid foods, alcohol, caffeine, and cigarettes.
H2: In Conclusion
Smoking after tooth extraction surgery is not a good idea. Cigarettes can prolong the healing process and even lead to dry socket formation. If you can, avoid smoking for at least the first week following your tooth removal. However, if you can't abstain from cigarettes for that long, it's integral to avoid them for the first two days.
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