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3 Reasons You Should Not Smoke After Having Your Wisdom Teeth Extracted

by Stella Robinson

If you are a smoker and was told by your oral surgeon not to smoke for a day or two after your wisdom tooth extraction, you may be wondering why. If so, below are three reasons why you should avoid smoking after having your wisdom teeth extracted.

Sucking Can Cause Dry Socket

During the first couple of days after your wisdom teeth are extracted, your body works to form a clot inside the empty sockets. This clot aids the healing process of the gums, as well as protects the open socket left behind after the procedure.

However, when you smoke a cigarette, the sucking action you must make to take a draw causing negative pressure inside your mouth. This negative pressure then pulls up on the clot.

Each time you smoke a cigarette, you risk completely pulling the clot out, causing what is known as dry socket. This condition is extremely painful, with each breath causing severe irritation to the exposed nerves, which in turn can cause severe pain until it heals.

Tar Increases the Risk of Infection

Smoking while your wisdom tooth extraction site can also increase your risk for infection. The tar in cigarettes forms a thick, sticky coating on the surgical site, trapping bacteria found on the gum. This greatly increases your risk of the gum becoming infected, potentially causing an abscess to form.

A dental abscess is not only painful, but it can also lead to more serious health risks. If an abscess ruptures, the bacteria can enter your bloodstream and spread throughout your body.

Chemicals Slow the Healing Process

Another reason not to smoke while recovering from an extraction is it impedes the healing process. Cigarette smoke not only contains nicotine and tar, but it also has a multitude of other chemicals that constrict the blood vessels.

When the blood supply to your gums is restricted, your body cannot send the proper number of white blood cells and platelets to the surgical site. As a result, the healing process is slowed considerably. And, the longer it takes your gums to heal, the more at risk you are for the other two risks discussed above.

Abstaining from smoking after your wisdom tooth extraction will help you avoid complications and help your gums heal faster. If you have any further questions about caring for your surgical sites or experience any of the above problems, contact your oral surgeon, like those at Altoona Center For Oral Surgery & Maxillofacial Surgery, to seek their advice.