Smoking After Oral Surgery: Effects & When to Smoke

When you have oral surgery, you should follow the post-operative instructions to minimize pain, swelling, and promote healing. One of the most important things to do after oral surgery is to stop smoking because it can increase your chances for complications and slow down the healing process. Smokers who have oral surgery are three to four times more likely to suffer from serious complications than non-smokers.

Effects of Smoking on Your Oral & Overall Health

Smoking is a bad habit that many people have. Smoking has been proven to be detrimental to your health and can lead to some serious conditions such as cancer, emphysema, lung disease, and heart disease. In the United States alone there are over 480,000 deaths per year due to smoking-related illnesses, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Smoking has been shown to have negative effects on oral health. Smoking can:

  • Reduce saliva production, which reduces the mouth’s ability to kill bacteria, causing gum disease.
  • Damage your tooth enamel and increase the chance of tooth decay.
  • Contribute to bad breath.
  • Cause Stained teeth and tongue
  • Reduce the blood flow to the oral tissue, which can lead to an increased possibility of tooth and gum loss.
  • Smoking increases your chances of complications after oral surgery.
  • Damage the tooth-supporting tissues, which can lead to tooth loss.
  • Smoking can also increase your risk for oral cancer.
Smoking can cause complications after oral surgery
Smoking can cause complications after oral surgery.

Why Should You Stop Smoking After Oral Surgery?

Smoking after oral surgery slows down the healing process and increases your risk for infection. In addition, smoking can make blood clotting more difficult, leading to increased bleeding. As a result, you will be at higher risk for infection of the surgical site and incomplete healing. Smokers have a two to four times higher risk for deep wound infection, even if they are healthy and practice excellent oral hygiene. Examples of oral surgeries that you should stop smoking when you have, include:

  • Tooth extraction.
  • Dental cyst removal.
  • Apicectomy.
  • Gum surgeries such as gingivectomy and flap surgery.
  • Dental implants surgery.
  • Bone graft and soft tissue grafts.
  • Maxillofacial surgery.

Complications of Smoking After Tooth Extraction or Surgical Procedures

Aside from the harmful effects that smoking can have on your oral health, it can also lead to complications after oral surgery. Not quitting when you are supposed to can cause:

  • Acute pain and swelling.
  • Infection at the surgical wound.
  • Ongoing bleeding and blood clotting problems.
  • Dry socket after tooth extraction.
  • Delayed or incomplete healing.
  • Failure of the oral surgery.

When Can I Start Smoking Again After Oral Surgery?

You can start smoking again at the recommendation of your oral surgeon. The period usually depends on the severity of the procedure. For example, smoking is banned for 2 weeks after gum surgery or implant surgery, and smoking is prohibited from 3 to 7 days after tooth extraction.

When smoking after oral surgery, it is important to follow all postoperative instructions given to you by your dentist or oral surgeon. The sooner you start smoking after your procedure, the higher the chances for complications such as pain, swelling, infection, and blood clots problems.

Conclusion

It’s important to stop smoking after oral surgery because it can slow down the healing process and increase your chances of complications. Smoking is also bad for your overall health, so it may be best to quit smoking entirely if you are able. When smoking again after an oral procedure, make sure that you follow all post-operative instructions given by your dentist or oral surgeon. It is recommended to wait before smoking again at least 3 days after tooth extraction and 2 weeks after gum surgery or implant surgery.

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