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Oral Surgery & Tobacco: Time To Quit!

Posted on 12/20/2016 by Dr McMurray
A woman smoking a cigarette harming her oral health.
For many smokers, it seems like there is never a good time to quit smoking. The prospect of oral surgery is a great reason to quit smoking! No matter what circumstances brought Oral Surgery into your immediate future, quitting smoking will help you heal better afterwards and avoid many unwanted side effects.

Oral Surgery comes in many shapes and sizes, but one thing every type of oral surgery has in common is post-operative healing. Cigarettes are perhaps the worst thing one can out into one's body after oral surgery.

For almost all oral surgery procedures, it is recommended that you stop smoking for at least 5 days. Why not take this opportunity to quit altogether? If that seems like too much for you at this point, it is very important that you stop smoking for at least the minimum of 5 days.

Here is a list of how Continuing to Smoke tobacco after Oral Surgery can negatively affect you:

•  Tobacco use causes inflammation that can greatly slow the healing process (and to think that tobacco was "introduced" to Europe as a medicinal plant!).
•  Smoking decreases blood flow to the gums, slowing the healing process.
•  Tobacco use greatly increases your chances of tooth loss following surgery.
•  Smoking is known to increase bone loss. After surgical procedures, specifically wisdom tooth removal, it is important for the bone to regenerate, and -smoking greatly hinders this process.
•  The inherent heat in tobacco smoke disrupts the body's natural blood clotting process.

However, the worst possible scenario of continuing to smoke tobacco after oral surgery is the dreaded dry socket. After a tooth gets extracted and the blood clot dissolves, or becomes dislodged, the exposed bone and nerves are at risk for infection. If the infection does occur, it is called dry socket. Dry socket can cause excruciating pain for a week or even more.

Of course cancer and emphysema are great reasons to quit, but hey they are probably decades away (though, perhaps closer than you think). I have not mentioned that the cost of cigarettes has continued to climb.

As of 2016, some states are considering tripling the tax on tobacco products. Smoking cigarettes is a no-win situation. If you are a smoker and are facing oral surgery and you have been looking for a time and reason to quit, THIS IS IT!

Please contact our office if you have any questions about tobaccos effects on your oral health.
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