“I am about to get a wisdom tooth removed, as my teeth are cracking from being pushed together. The surgery is pretty scary, the tooth needs to be surgically rmeoved, and is only partially erupted, and the roots go beneath other teeth as well. I have been reading the post operative instructions and it says that smoking is forbidden. I am a pack a day man, and I can go for a while without cigarettes, the question is, how long will I have to last without them?”
This is a tricky question. Smoking cigarettes is extremely bad for your teeth. It is never good to smoke, so how long will you have to go without them? The best answer is forever. If you do not want receding gums, damaged enamel, xerostomia and a weakened oral environment, you should quit immediately.
With that being said, as an ex-smoker, I know that this is easier said than done. This is why a realistic approach is needed from your dentist. Talk about your habit with your dentist, he/she is going to notice fairly early on that you smoke, and it is important for your dentist to know how much you smoke, so they can assess the damage and modify your treatment plan accordingly. The treatments should take your smoking into account, as this is what it means to have a personalized treatment plan.
This being said certain things just need to happen without cigarette smoke. One of these is the healing time after an oral surgical procedure, the longer you can go without having a smoke, the faster you will heal and the less probability there will be that you will get an infection or some other complication. The very minimum you should go without a cigarette is three days. The reason is because your tissue needs that time to heal. The other reason is because the extraction site will grow a bloodclot. This bloodclot needs to stay in its place and not be removed, or otherwise you risk developing a dry socket. This is one of the worst things that can happen to you, it is extremely painful and can result in damage to your nerves and jawbone as well. Smoking can make you accidentally dislodge or remove the bloodclot because it dries out your mouth, and also because there is a sucking motion as you inhale the smoke. And that’s why you should not smoke until your bloodclot is completely absorbed, but at least until you have waited 72 hours, as by that time the bloodclot should be fused to the gums.