“Smoking thrills but kills” – a phrase used in the cigarette advertisements of Gen X. If you’re a smoker, then you can understand the true meaning of this phrase. However, in the world of dentistry, cigarette smoke has certain downsides, one of which is dry socket after a tooth extraction.
What if we tell you to smoke a certain way after tooth extraction and minimize the chance of developing a dry socket. Will you do it? Keep reading to find out the correct way to smoke after tooth extraction. But first, let’s talk about why you should avoid smoking after tooth extraction.
Top 3 reasons to avoid smoking after tooth extraction
Below mentioned are the three D’s that you should know in this regard:
1. Delayed Healing:
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), cigarette smoking slows wound healing. It does so by decreasing the availability of nutrients to the wound site. Moreover, a wound needs oxygen to heal properly. Smoking reduces the availability of oxygen at the wound site, thereby slowing the healing process.
2. Dislodged Clot:
Clot formation is crucial to the wound-healing process. Any factor that disrupts or dislodges a clot is alarming, as dry socket forms in the absence of a blood clot.
The forceful inhalation of cigarette smoke creates a suction around the blood clot resulting in its dislodgement. The result is excruciating pain that is extremely hard to cope with – dry socket.
3. Disseminating Post-op. Pain:
Smoking results in an imbalance of the body’s inflammatory response, resulting in increased pain after extraction. In addition, research shows that smoking increases the risk of vascular disease by disrupting the endothelial lining of vessels. One such disease is temporal arteritis; the result is headaches and jaw pain with vision problems.
How long should you avoid smoking after having a tooth pulled
In light of the three D’s mentioned above, avoiding smoking for 3 days after a tooth extraction is usually recommended. However, if you still urge to smoke, try using smokeless tobacco as an alternative to cigarette smoke. The latter has its downsides but is better than actively consuming smoke.
The most common complication of smoking after an extraction is a dry socket. The classical presentation of a dry socket is severe pain extending to the ear and upper face. We’ll add more fuel to the fire by telling you that there is no definitive treatment for dry socket other than over-the-counter analgesics.
How to stop dry socket pain
You can do two things if a dry socket happens to you or your loved one.
· Use Clove oil:
To stop dry socket pain at home, you should do the following;
- Take a small ball of cotton and soak it in clove oil
- Pack this cotton ball inside a thin damp gauze
- Place the dressing inside the dry socket
- Remove the dressing after 20 minutes and rinse your mouth with salt water
- Repeat the process – thrice daily for 7 days.
· Visit your Dentist:
Your dentist will take measures to stop the pain by irrigating the tooth socket with normal saline. Irrigation will be followed by placing a gauze dipped in pain relieving medication. The gauze dressing will be changed daily for 3 to 5 days. Moreover, pain-relieving medications will be given by your dentist as adjunctive therapy.
Correct way of smoking after tooth extraction
We have strongly advised you to avoid smoking after tooth extraction, but if you still plan on doing it, then the correct way is mentioned below:
- Place a damp gauze on the extraction socket
- Gently put pressure on it from the opposing tooth
- Light-slow inhalation of cigarette smoke – avoid forceful inhalation
Oral Hygiene Instructions
Good oral hygiene is essential for the prevention of oral diseases. The most common and effective way to practice oral care is to brush your teeth twice daily. You can take things one step further by using a sonic electric toothbrush.
Oclean sonic toothbrush will not only up your oral hygiene game but will also make plaque removal easy for you. Less plaque equals less bacteria, and less bacteria equals less chance of oral disease. In addition to regular brushing, you must also use dental floss once daily.
Take home message
The correct way of smoking a cigarette after tooth extraction has been mentioned in the preceding sections. However, avoiding smoking for 3 days after tooth extraction is recommended to prevent dry socket. If a dry socket occurs, you can either rush to a dentist or use clove oil to stop the pain. Moreover, electric toothbrushes should be used for meticulous oral hygiene.
*Cover image from Freepik@chanakonlaorob, we will delete it if constitutes infringement *