Smoking within the first 48 hours will hinder the formation of a blood clot in the socket which will lead to a dry socket, the most pain you will ever experience in your life.
Technically, I smoked the day of surgery and every day since, but I smoked very little, only a few small drags, and covered the area with wet gauze and rinsed lightly afterward.
I got all 4 wisdoms removed; although all my teeth were erupted, he had to cut out the bottom two due to age (26) since the lower jaw bone is no longer spongy and the teeth can't be pulled.
I'm on my sixth day and except for the first two days where I smoked a little more (I'm stupid, like a couple drags two or three times a day), I only have a couple drags in the morning (still with the gauze and rinse afterward - warm saltwater). I am a diehard smoker and I know I will go back to smoking once I am better healed (I see the dr. tomorrow for my check-up). While a part of me sees this as a perfect opportunity to quit and I even feel like I could, I just like smoking too much and I know that I'll start up again. We'll see. I have relied heavily on the patch and rather than focusing on how I'd like to smoke, I've just been picturing how bad it is in terms of healing to be smoking.
So far, I have not had any dry sockets, but I also heard that dry socket can occur for up to 14 days after surgery (though highly unlikely). I think I'm in the clear but at this point I just want it to heal well - even when I do step outside to smoke, it just seems not worth it since I really can't enjoy it. If i can't smoke all I want and how I want, then it's really not worth it, especially with the threat of dry socket.
I agree with everything the other person posted - smoke as little as possible and when you do, cover the holes with wet gauze (not dry or it will stick to the surgery site!!) and do not suck, place the cig in front of your mouth and just breath it in from the end without using your lips to grasp it. Drink water afterwards during the first 24 (if you stupidly decide to smoke like me), and rinse with saline solution after the first 24.
Always rinse gently and be sure to follow all of your doctor's instructions for aftercare.
I recommend getting a patch and smoking as little and as gently as possible (I would really recommend not at all, especially for the first 48, but I'm trying to be realistic). Just put on a patch (I found that it worked amazingly well) and keep your mind off of it as much as you can. I know it's hard, but it's only something you have to do for a little while and I was actually surprised at myself for being able to smoke next to nothing for the past six days.
My doctor's instructions were not to smoke for at least 48 hours, others say 72 hours, and others say at least 4 days. Dry socket typically occurs within 3 to 5 days after surgery, so I would try to smoke as little and as carefully as possible for those 5 days. They say that a week without smoking is optimal as it allows for the best healing.
Dry socket typically occurs after getting the lower wisdom teeth removed because there is poor blood circulation to that part of the mouth - smoking exacerbates this, which is why it increases your chances of dry socket, along with the toxic chemicals and smoke that can dissolve the clot and the suction from smoking.
Get the patch and try not to think about smoking - the more you think about it, the more you'll want to smoke.
Drawing on the cigarette creates a partial vacuum in your mouth which makes excessive bleeding much more likely.
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