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Smoking After a Tooth Extraction

Smoking in general is an extremely unhealthy habit, but there are times when smoking can cause additional strain to your body—especially when it is trying to heal. One of these occasions is after a tooth extraction.

While the temptation may be there to smoke after tooth extraction, this is actually a terrible idea—and can lead to massive damage to the area of your mouth that is trying to heal—and your mouth overall.

First, it’s important to understand if a tooth needs to be extracted, what the reasons for an extraction are and what could happen if a tooth is not extracted when it needs to be.

Why Would a Tooth Need to Be Removed?

There are a few different reasons why a tooth may need to be extracted. Generally a tooth extraction is a last resort for a dentist, and can sometimes be avoided if an appointment is set with a dentist early enough. Some of the reasons for a tooth extraction are:

  • Damage to a tooth that is beyond repair.
  • Tooth decay and infection that cannot be repaired.
  • Crowding of surrounding teeth (often the case with wisdom teeth).

If tooth decay is caught early enough, the tooth may be saved. Also, if a tooth is damaged to a lesser extend, dental bonding may be an option. Otherwise, the tooth will likely need to be extracted to prevent  any further damage. If a tooth is not extracted, there is a risk of more severe and even permanent damage to the surrounding teeth, gums, mouth and more. An infection can even spread beyond the mouth, and throughout the rest of the body.

Because of this, it is extremely important to visit a dentist as soon as there is any pain or swelling, if a tooth is damaged or if any crowding is occurring.


Aftercare in an important consideration after a tooth extraction, and it’s best to speak with your dentist about what steps you can take to ensure a speedy and healthy recovery. A few things you’ll want to keep in mind are:

  • Avoid eating hard foods while healing.
  • Do not suck through a straw during the healing phase.
  •  Take pain relievers as recommended.

You’ll also need to not smoke after tooth extraction.

Why You Shouldn’t Smoke After Tooth Extraction

While for smokers going three days without smoking may seem difficult, it is absolutely necessary for a healthy recovery after a tooth extraction. By smoking after a tooth extraction, a patient runs the risk of delaying the healing process, and even causing inflammation and dry sockets. These dry sockets can lead to bad breath, difficultly opening the mouth and increasing worse pain. They can also spread, causing even more damage. Blood clots are extremely important for recovery, and smoking can expel the blood clots that are forming—delaying the healing process. This can also lead to the formation of a dry socket. Make sure to take at least 72 hours after a tooth extraction before smoking again. Do not smoke after tooth extraction. Instead, give yourself time to heal to avoid developing new oral health issues caused by your smoking.

Concerned you many need an emergency tooth extraction? Read more here.

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Iowa Dental Group Des Moines

1233 63rd Street
Des Moines, Ia 50311
(515) 277-6358

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Our Des Moines' Dentists Bob Margeas DDS & Nicholas Economos are eager to help provide any answers you may have. Contact us today regarding optimal oral health.

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