A tooth extraction involves removing one or more teeth. While tooth extractions can be difficult for many patients, they are a particular challenge for smokers. Although smokers may eventually smoke after a tooth extraction, they should refrain from smoking for at least 72 hours after the procedure.
If a patient smokes immediately after undergoing a tooth extraction, they can delay their healing and experience a dry socket. Dry socket is an infection that can arise in the empty tooth socket following a tooth extraction. It develops when the blood clot that forms in the socket dissolves or becomes dislodged. It leaves the bone and nerve exposed and causes serious pain that may last for up to six days.
When you smoke, your blood vessels shrink and are therefore unable to deliver enough oxygen and nutrients to the wound area. In addition, smoking draws carbon monoxide into your blood vessels, which leads to reduced overall oxygen levels. When you are left with less oxygen and nutrients, you may face a longer healing time and put yourself at an increased risk of infection.
By making every effort to avoid smoking for at least 72 hours after tooth extraction, you can reduce your risk of dry socket and heal in a safe and efficient manner. If you believe you are unable to stop this habit for a temporary amount of time, inform your dentist so they can provide you with recommendations.
Contact Costa Family & Cosmetic Dentistry
If you are a smoker and concerned about dry sockets after a tooth extraction, it is in your best interest to contact our office today. Feel free to give us a call at 703-439-1214.