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Smoking After Wisdom Teeth Removal

Wisdom tooth extraction is a very common, outpatient dental procedure. Most people develop their wisdom teeth between the ages of 17 and 25 and usually do not have room in their mouth to allow for these third molars without causing overcrowding in the rest of the teeth. Wisdom teeth can also cause other dental issues down the road.

If your wisdom teeth have erupted through the gums, surgery is relatively simple. If they have not erupted and are impacted, surgery and recovery time may be a little more extensive. If your wisdom teeth are impacted, your oral surgeon may have to remove some bone to access the tooth.

On The Day of Surgery

Most of the time, removing your wisdom teeth can be done under local anesthesia. Occasionally, a patient may require general anesthesia and would need to have someone available to drive them home.

Some pain and swelling is to be expected immediately following surgery. Most patients can manage their pain with over-the-counter medications that your doctor may prescribe you pain medication if you cannot tolerate the pain with over the counter drugs. Your doctor will also prescribe you antibiotics to prevent infection.

On day one and two of your recovery, it is best to stick to liquids such as soups and smoothies and not try to eat anything that could disturb your extraction sites. The next few days soft foods like mashed potatoes and puddings can be integrated into your diet. It is extremely important to avoid alcohol and caffeinated beverages and smoking should certainly be stopped for 7 to 10 days to avoid complications and infection.

Some symptoms that you have an infection or other complication include:

  • Fever
  • Trouble swallowing
  • Swelling that gets worse instead of better
  • Numbness
  • Bleeding that does not stop when pressure is applied
  • Pain medication is ineffective

Caring For Your Extraction Sites at Home

Your oral surgeon will give you detailed instructions on how to clean and care for your extraction sites at home. Some of your directions may include:

  • Do not brush the area instead use a warm salt water rinse to clean the wind and reduce swelling. The saltwater rinse can be used as often as you like and is very helpful after eating to make sure that no food particles are left behind in the extraction site. While you are rinsing do not spit the water into the sink, instead lean over the sink and let the water spill out of your mouth.
  • Bleeding at the site after extraction should be gently dabbed with a damp gauze to absorb the blood.
  • To avoid developing dry socket, do not use a straw while drinking, smoke, or spit. Dry socket is very painful and happens when the blood clot that forms over your extraction site becomes dislodged.

Long-term Recovery After Wisdom Tooth Extraction

Depending on the extent of your surgery, full recovery can take between 3 to 7 days. Your extraction site wound will not be completely healed for a month or two so it is possible to still develop infection well after surgery. You can go about your daily routines the day after surgery as long as you make sure to avoid strenuous exercises, smoking, spitting, and drinking from a straw all of which can dislodge your blood clot or disrupt your stitches.

Call your oral surgeon immediately if your pain is more than you can tolerate with pain medications or if bleeding is excessive. Your symptoms should begin to subside by day three and all pain and swelling and any residual bleeding should be completely gone by day seven.

More on Wisdom Teeth Removal : Complications After Wisdom Teeth Removal

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