Blog - Dental Tips, Facts & Advice

Smoking After Tooth Extraction: How Long Do I Have to Wait?

Wisdom tooth extraction

Healing after a tooth extraction surgery is uncomfortable for everyone but people who smoke also have the concern of abstaining from cigarettes. That’s why “When can I smoke after wisdom tooth extraction” is such a commonly asked question. It’s difficult to get a clear answer because dentists (and any health professional) will always advise against smoking and promote abstaining for as long as possible after a surgery or treatment. 

At the same time, dentists and oral health professionals understand that overcoming nicotine addiction is a challenge that takes time, and are aware many smokers will continue to use cigarettes post-surgery. So, here are a few things to keep in mind about smoking after tooth extraction and how long you should wait to avoid severe complications.

The dangerous risks of smoking too soon after dental surgery 

Dentists generally advise waiting as long as possible after surgery before smoking again. This is because it can slow down the healing process and cause problems. By waiting, your post-surgery wounds can recover with minimal discomfort and you can avoid the stress of extra visits to the dentist. The action of smoking and the harmful chemicals inhaled can put you at risk of bleeding, inflammation, and infections.

Smoking after wisdom teeth removal is especially risky

After an extraction, your mouth will be extra sensitive, you will have an open wound at the extraction site/s which will eventually grow a blood clot (scab) to protect the wound as it is healing. The suction, inhalation, and exhalation of smoking can aggravate this process and prevent the clot from forming. This is an extremely painful condition called dry socket.

It’s particularly important to avoid smoking while you are healing from wisdom tooth extraction. The larger size of wisdom teeth and more invasive nature of extraction means the healing process takes longer – so you have a greater risk of developing dry socket and complications.

How long to wait before smoking after wisdom teeth removal

Dentists advise that you avoid smoking as well as any actions that use similar motions such as using straws, sucking, spitting for a few days after wisdom teeth removal. 

A general rule of thumb is three days (72 hours). In this time, the blood clot should have formed and your risk of dry socket and complications begins to decrease. If you are really struggling with the urge to smoke right after surgery, try your best to abstain for the first 24 hours as this is when you will be the most sensitive.

How to prevent dry socket while smoking

  • Wait as long as possible before you smoke
  • For extra support, consider calling a Quitline or using nicotine patches, DO NOT use Nicotine gum or any chewing gum as it can harm your wound
  • If you do smoke, inhale with minimal force
  • Limit your smoking 
  • Monitor your wound site to ensure a blood clot has formed, contact the dentist if you notice a loss of blood and pain – this may be a dry socket
  • Contact your dentist if you are experiencing bleeding, persistent pain or notice anything unusual at the wound site

Contact Your Trusted Dentist in Adelaide

To learn more about any of the above, contact our friendly team at Burnside Dental today. If you are experiencing symptoms of dry socket or have any concerns, book an appointment immediately or call us at (08) 8364 2557 so that we can help you with the right support.