Reviewed by Dr. Trevor Allen, DDS

Wisdom tooth removal is a common dental procedure that many people have to undergo at some point in their lives. While the recovery process varies from person to person, one factor that can greatly impact the healing process is the smoking of nicotine.

Smoking has been known to have negative effects on overall health, but it can also significantly prolong the healing time after wisdom tooth extraction. In fact, studies have shown that smokers are more likely to experience complications such as dry socket and delayed healing compared to non-smokers.

But why exactly does smoking have such a negative impact on the recovery process? And what steps can be taken to ensure a healthy recovery after wisdom tooth removal?

In this blog post, we’ll discuss the potential complications caused by smoking/vaping after wisdom tooth extraction and provide tips on how to promote healing for a successful recovery.

Table of Contents

How Smoking Affects Healing

When a tooth is extracted, a blood clot forms in the empty socket with essential growth factors to protect the area and allow for healing to take place. Nicotine in the bloodstream from smoking, chewing or vaping can disrupt this process in several ways.

  • Delayed healing: Smoking, vaping and chewing nicotine reduces blood flow to the gums and mouth, which is essential for healing. This means that the body’s natural ability to heal itself is hindered, leading to a longer recovery time. This reduction of blood flow to the tissues of the mouth is secondary to nicotine in the bloodstream.
  • Dry socket: One of the most common complications after wisdom tooth removal is dry socket, which occurs when the blood clot in the extraction site becomes dislodged or dissolves prematurely. Smoking can increase the risk of developing dry socket due to the heat, chemicals and suction created while smoking.
  • Infection: The nicotine and tar found in cigarettes can make it harder for the body to fight off infection. This means that smokers are more prone to developing infections after wisdom tooth removal, which can lead to further complications and a longer healing time.
Key Takeaway

Smoking hinders the body’s natural healing process, leading to complications such as dry socket and infection. Ideally, you should not smoke for 5 days, but if this is not possible, wait at least 24 hours. The longer you can go without smoking before and after surgery, the better your recovery will be.

Understanding Dry Socket

Dry socket is a painful condition that can occur after wisdom tooth removal. It happens when the blood clot in the extraction site becomes dislodged, exposing sensitive nerves and bone. Not only does this cause severe pain, but it also leaves the area vulnerable to infection.

While anyone can develop dry socket after a tooth extraction, smokers are at a higher risk due to the chemicals, reduced blood flow and heat from smoking. The act of inhaling and exhaling smoke creates suction in the mouth, which can dislodge the blood clot and hinder the healing process.

Vaping and using smokeless tobacco can also increase the risk of developing dry socket. So, if you’re a smoker, it’s important to refrain from all forms of smoking, including vaping, after wisdom tooth removal.

Tips for a Healthy Recovery

Here are some general tips to help ensure a healthy recovery after wisdom tooth removal:

  • Quit smoking: The best way to promote healing and reduce the risk of complications is to quit smoking altogether.  If quitting isn’t an option, refrain from smoking for at least 24 hours after surgery. Dry sockets typically occur 4 to 5 days after surgery, so it is recommended to wait for five days before smoking, if possible.
  • Consider nicotine replacement therapy: If you’re struggling to quit smoking, consider using a nicotine replacement therapy such as a nicotine patch. This can help curb cravings while allowing your body to heal. However, nicotine replacement can still contribute to delayed healing, so they should be avoided for the first 24 hours after surgery. 
  • Follow post-surgery instructions: We will provide post-surgery instructions. It is important that you follow these instructions carefully to ensure a healthy recovery.

Post-Surgery Instructions

We will provide you with a detailed set of instructions to follow; here are a few general guidelines to keep in mind:

  • Avoid using straws: The suction created when using a straw can dislodge the blood clot and interfere with healing. Avoid using straws for at least 24 hours after surgery.
  • Eat soft foods: Stick to soft foods such as soup, mashed potatoes, and smoothies for the first few days after surgery. This will allow your mouth to heal without added pressure or discomfort.
  • Take it easy:  Avoid strenuous activities for the first few days after surgery. Rest and allow your body to heal.

AZ Max – Your Oral Surgeon in Mesa, AZ

At AZ Max Oral Surgery, our experienced oral surgeons provide expert wisdom tooth removal and post-surgery care. We understand the importance of a healthy recovery and are here to support you every step of the way.

If you have any questions or concerns about smoking after wisdom tooth removal, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. Together, we can create a plan for a successful and healthy recovery.

To book an appointment with one of our oral surgeons in Mesa, Queen Creek, Tempe or Show Low, call or text (480) 830-5866 or complete the online booking form.  If you are searching for ‘wisdom teeth extraction near me’, trust the experts at AZ Max Oral Surgery!


Can you get dry socket from vaping through your nose?

Yes, vaping through your nose can still create suction in the mouth and increase the risk of dry socket. It is best to avoid all forms of smoking or nicotine replacements after wisdom tooth removal for at least 24 hours.

Can I take edibles after wisdom teeth surgery?

Edibles can interact with other medications and should be avoided until you have finished your prescription pain medication. It’s best to consult with your oral surgeon before consuming edibles or any other form of cannabis after surgery.

When is it 100% safe to smoke after wisdom teeth removal?

For your overall oral health, you should quit smoking altogether. This not only supports the healing process after wisdom tooth removal but also contributes to healthier teeth and gums in the long run. However, we understand that quitting might not be an option for everyone. If this is the case, it is strongly recommended to abstain from nicotine in all forms for at least 5 days post-surgery to allow for proper healing and to reduce the risk of post-operative complications.