Clearing the Smoke: How Long to Avoid Smoking before Wisdom Teeth


Wisdom teeth patients should refrain from smoking for at least 72 hours before and after the extraction procedure. Smoking may interfere with the healing process of the surgical site and lead to complications such as infection and dry socket.

Therefore, it is recommended to avoid smoking altogether during the recovery period. While nicotine patches and gums are an option, they can also increase the risk of complications. It is best to discuss alternative strategies with a healthcare provider and refrain from smoking for the recommended period of time to ensure a smooth and successful recovery.

Clearing the Smoke: How Long to Avoid Smoking before Wisdom Teeth


What Happens When You Smoke After Wisdom Teeth Extraction?

Wisdom teeth extraction is a common surgical procedure that involves removing one or more of the four permanent adult teeth located at the back of your mouth. The process of healing after a wisdom tooth extraction can be uncomfortable, and lifestyle changes are often necessary to ensure the site heals correctly.

One of the most significant lifestyle changes a patient must make is avoiding smoking. But how long should one avoid smoking? And what happens if you smoke after wisdom teeth extraction?

Explanation Of The Effects Of Smoking On Wound Healing

Smoking cigarettes constricts blood vessels, reducing blood flow to an area: it is also responsible for prolonging the body’s inflammatory response to wounds. When it comes to the mouth, this combination can lead to severe complications after wisdom teeth extraction.

  • Nicotine in cigarettes compromises the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to the site of extraction, which impedes the healing process and can cause severe pain and inflammation.
  • Cigarette smoke is also full of toxins, which increases the vulnerability of the wound to infections.
  • During the healing process, the body forms a blood clot over the site of the extraction, which protects it from harmful bacteria. Smoking can dislodge and disturb the blood clot, leading to a painful complication known as a dry socket.

Increase In Risk Of Dry Socket

A dry socket is a painful condition that occurs when the protective blood clot over the extraction site is dislodged or dissolves prematurely. Smoking after a wisdom tooth extraction increases the risk of developing a dry socket by up to four times.

Symptoms usually appear three to four days post-extraction and include:

  • Unbearable pain, which may radiate to the ear.
  • Bad breath and an unpleasant taste in the mouth, caused by the disintegrating clot and bacteria in the extraction socket.
  • Exposure of the jawbone, which is extremely painful.

Prolonged Inflammation And Pain

Smoking after a wisdom teeth extraction often causes prolonged inflammation and pain, which can make the healing process uncomfortable. Inflammatory chemicals are caused by smoking which can prolong the inflammatory process.

  • Poor healing due to blood supply restrictions caused by nicotine in cigarettes. When healing is slowed down the pain and inflammation can also escalate.
  • Delayed healing can affect the gums, teeth, and bone surrounding the extraction site.
  • Debris accumulation around the site, which can lead to infection.

Delayed Healing Process

Smoking after a wisdom tooth extraction can lead to a delayed healing process, affecting the patient’s oral and physical wellbeing. Healing can take several weeks or even months, leading to:

  • Prolonged pain and inflammation
  • Increased antibiotic use for infections
  • Inability to resume normal activities
  • And potential risks of further complications.

Avoiding smoking after a wisdom teeth extraction is critical to the healing process. Not smoking for at least a week, and, even better, two weeks post-extraction gives the body ample time to heal the wound. Smoking may seem tempting – but it is essential to prioritize your health and comfort, so you can heal properly and avoid complications.

How Long Should You Avoid Smoking After Wisdom Teeth Extraction?

Recommendations From Dental Professionals

Wisdom teeth extraction is a common procedure to alleviate pain caused by impacted teeth. Your oral surgeon will advise you to avoid smoking for at least a few days to prevent complications and ensure proper healing of the extraction site.

Here are the recommended tips from dental professionals for smoking cessation:

  • Quit smoking at least 48 hours before the surgery
  • Do not smoke for at least 72 hours after the surgery
  • Avoid using cigarettes, vape, or any tobacco products for a few days
  • Do not chew tobacco or use nicotine patches during the recovery period

Factors That Affect The Healing Process And Smoking Cessation Duration

The sooner you quit smoking and avoid it after the surgery, the faster you will heal. Smoking can cause several complications such as dry socket, infections, and restricted blood flow to the area. Moreover, the healing process can be impacted by several factors such as:

  • Overall health and age
  • Number of wisdom teeth extracted
  • Severity of impaction
  • Use of anesthesia and sedation during surgery
  • Presence of other underlying health conditions

Length Of Time To Avoid Smoking Based On The Type Of Extraction

The length of time to avoid smoking depends on the type of wisdom teeth extraction. Here are the common extraction types along with the recommended smoking cessation duration:

  • Simple extraction: Avoid smoking for at least 72 hours after surgery
  • Surgical extraction: Avoid smoking for at least a week or until the pain has subsided
  • Multiple extractions: Avoid smoking for a week or longer depending on the severity of the extraction and the overall recovery progress

It is important to adhere to the recommended smoking cessation duration prescribed by your oral surgeon to prevent complications and ensure a smooth recovery. Remember, the key is to allow your body to heal and avoid any activities that impede the healing process.

Alternatives To Smoking During The Recovery Period

Smoking can interfere with the healing process after wisdom teeth extraction. Therefore, it’s essential to quit smoking for some time before and after the procedure. The recovery period after the surgery is essential to ensure that your gums heal correctly and that you avoid any related complications.

Nicotine Replacement Therapy

Nicotine replacement therapy assists in quitting smoking by providing low doses of nicotine in other forms. The harm caused by smoking is not just because of the nicotine, but also because of the tar and other toxic components that result in long-term health issues.

Using these alternative methods can assist in avoiding gum infections, bleeding, pain, and inflammation. Some of the nicotine replacement products you can consider during the recovery period include:

  • Nicotine gum, which helps alleviate cravings and provides a mild boost of energy to keep you alert during the recovery period.
  • Nicotine patches can assist with managing nicotine withdrawal. These patches are placed on the skin and work by delivering a low dose of nicotine over a prolonged period.
  • Nicotine lozenges, which assist in managing nicotine withdrawal symptoms while providing a minty-fresh feeling, are an excellent alternative to cigarettes.

Smoking Cessation Programs

Smoking cessation programs aim to help individuals quit smoking and support them throughout the recovery period. There are many smoking cessation programs available, and they may vary in their approach. Some popular options are:

  • Counseling and support groups work for individuals who require a more personal approach. Counseling can be beneficial in coping with challenges, managing stress, and improving overall health.
  • Online smoking cessation programs offer access to various resources, support groups, and self-help tools. These programs can assist in building motivation to quit smoking and provide valuable advice from professionals.

Introduction Of Healthy Habits

Developing healthy habits can also help in managing nicotine withdrawal symptoms while promoting overall health and wellness during the recovery period. Some useful habits to consider are:

  • Regular exercise: Exercise can assist in managing stress and promote overall cardiovascular health, which is beneficial for promoting the healing process.
  • Balanced diet: Consuming a balanced diet high in vitamins and minerals can accelerate the healing process after wisdom teeth extraction. Ensure that you consume a diet with an adequate supply of vitamins c, d, e, and calcium, among others.
  • Mindfulness and stress management techniques: Mindfulness techniques like deep breathing can assist in reducing stress levels and managing cravings during the recovery period.

It’s essential to quit smoking before wisdom teeth extraction and avoid smoking for some time after the procedure. Nicotine replacement therapy, smoking cessation programs, and introducing healthy habits are methods that can assist in quitting smoking while managing withdrawal symptoms and reducing complications during the recovery period.

Frequently Asked Questions For How Long To Not Smoke Before Wisdom Teeth

How Long Should I Not Smoke Before Wisdom Teeth Removal?

It is recommended that you stop smoking at least 24 hours before your wisdom teeth removal surgery. Smoking can increase the risk of complications and slow down the healing process.

Why Should I Not Smoke Before Wisdom Teeth Removal?

Smoking can reduce your body’s ability to heal, increase the risk of infection, and cause dry socket. Dry socket causes intense pain and delays the recovery process.

Can I Smoke After Wisdom Teeth Removal?

It is best to wait at least 72 hours after wisdom teeth removal surgery before smoking. This will give your mouth enough time to begin the healing process.

What If I Absolutely Can’T Resist Smoking After Wisdom Teeth Removal?

If you must smoke, wait at least 72 hours after surgery and avoid smoking for as long as possible. Rinse your mouth with salt water after smoking to help reduce the risk of complications.

What Are The Risks Of Smoking After Wisdom Teeth Removal?

Smoking after wisdom teeth removal can increase the risk of infections, dry sockets, and delayed healing. It can also increase bleeding and make it difficult for the mouth to heal properly.


As you can see, giving up cigarettes before wisdom teeth removal is vital to enable a quick and healthy recovery. Quitting smoking is a challenging process, but your health should be your priority. It is best to quit smoking altogether, not just before oral surgery, to reap long-term health benefits.

To avoid discomfort and complications during the wisdom teeth removal process, we recommend to stop smoking at least 48 to 72 hours before the procedure. Additionally, avoid smoking for as long as possible, preferably for at least a week after the surgery.

Remember that smoking can lead to various health issues, including a delayed healing process, tissue damage, and gum disease. With a little bit of effort and determination to stop smoking, you will be on your way to a successful wisdom teeth removal experience and a healthier future.

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