Smoking After Tooth Extraction – Is It Really Such A Bad Idea?

If you are a smoker and have recently had a tooth removed, you are probably wondering whether smoking after tooth extraction is really such a bad idea?

You might just want to smoke a few cigarettes to satisfy the craving, but even so, cigarette smoke after tooth extraction can have a number of detrimental effects on the healing process of the tooth extraction site. In other words, you should definitely not just go ahead an smoke right after having a tooth removed.

If you want to learn more about the reasons why smoking right after tooth extractions is a bad idea, as well as whether there are any exceptions to this general rule, keep on reading.

How smoking interferes with the healing process following tooth extractions

When you have a tooth removed, it leaves an empty socket, an extraction site in the soft tissue of your gums. This extraction site wound begins to heal immediately after the tooth has been removed, it takes a while to fully heal. While you are healing, you are likely to experience a number of normal side-effects such as minor swelling, bleeding and pain. 

It is imperative that you follow your dentist’s recommendations and do what you can to help your healing process along and avoid complications. The pro-active things you can do to aid your own healing include avoiding hot, spicy and hard foods, hot beverages, and smoking. And yes, this includes both normal cigarettes, pipes, e-cigarettes, chewing tobacco and even nicotine gum.

The all-important blood clot

One of the most important things that happen when your extraction wound starts healing is that a blood clot starts to develop rapidly at the extraction site. This blood clot is vital for healing, as it protects the wound and shields it from anything getting in it.

Smoking can dislodge the blood clot, which can result not only in delayed healing but also in significant pain. It is also worth noting that the nicotine from smoking affects the levels of oxygen in your bloodstream, which again affects the healing process by slowing it down.

This is how long you should wait before smoking after a tooth extraction

The consensus among dental professionals is that you should wait for at least 72 hours after having a tooth extracted before it is safe to smoke again. Dentists also recommend that patients stop smoking at least 12 hours ahead of any oral surgery.

If you are heavy smoker, giving up your habit for a few days while you undergo and recover from oral surgery can be quite a challenge and a test of your will. Still, if you are able to quit smoking for a small amount of time the result is a much smoother and more painless healing process.

What to do if you cannot stop smoking for 72 hours

In case you are completely unable to stop smoking temporarily, the next best thing you can do is to simply hold off smoking for as long as you can – every hour counts towards healing without unnecessary pain or delay. Using nicotine patches is can really help see you through the initial 72 hours following your oral surgery. 

If you do not trust yourself to be able to stop smoking for 72 hours, ask your dentist to put a few stitches in the extraction site to protect it as much as possible from the damaging effects of smoking while the wound is still fresh. This will minimise severe pain and other unwanted effects of smoking right on the heels of your wisdom tooth removal.

Another thing you can do to protect your extraction site while smoking is to hold a wad of gauze over the extraction site while you smoke.

Smoking after tooth extraction FAQ

How can I smoke and not get dry socket?

Your oral surgeon is likely to recommend that you stop smoking both before and after your tooth extraction. The reason for this is that your smoking habit and everything it involves – from the sucking action of pulling on the cigarette to the chemical toxins that enter your mouth – can severely delay your healing process and affect your oral health. 

If you do not trust yourself to be able to stop smoking for there recommended 72 hours following a tooth extraction, even knowing that making this temporary sacrifice is the best thing you can do for your overall oral health, there are things you can do to lessen the impact tobacco products have one your healing. 

First of all, you should wait for as long as you can before having your first cigarette following tooth extraction. Asking your dentist to put stitches in the surgery site to minimise the effect of smoking on the soft tissue is another good idea, as is keeping a bit of gauze in place over the extraction site while you smoke.

What happens if you smoke after getting a tooth extraction?

The short answer is that you should completely avoid smoking for at least 72 hours after having a tooth extracted if you want to protect your oral and overall health. 

The reason for this is that there are plenty of serious complications that may result if you smoke after a tooth extraction. Not only can smoking after tooth extraction be a rather painful experience, it can cause inflammation, delay healing, and lead to dry sockets.

When you take the risks into consideration, it is clear why you should avoid smoking for a short period of time following your tooth extraction. 

Will I definitely get dry socket if I smoke?

There is no 100% guarantee, but the likelihood of getting a dry socket from smoking while you are covering from a tooth extraction is extremely high and simply not worth the risk.

Can I some 24 hours after tooth extraction?

This may not be the answer you want to hear, but no, you should not be smoking for at least 72 hours following any kind of oral surgery, including tooth extractions.

Waiting the full 72 hours before smoking again after your tooth extraction can be a challenge, particularly if you are a heavy smoker and are used to smoking on a daily basis. However, the likelihood of delaying or completely disrupting your healing process is not worth the risk of smoking shortly after having a tooth pulled out. 

Tiding yourself over with a nicotine patch is your best option. Then, after 72 hours have passed, you can slowly return to smoking tobacco again if you wish to do so.


You have made it to the end of this article! We hope that it has provided you with all of the information you need to be able to make the best decisions when it comes to your oral health and ensuring a smooth healing process after your tooth extraction. 

We know that giving up your smoking habit can be difficult, even if it is just for a few days. Still, if you can resist the urge to smoke cigarettes or use chewing tobacco or nicotine gum for as little as 72 hours after tooth extraction, you will have made significant steps towards ensuring a successful healing process.

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