The medical professionals at Studio Dentaire recommend that smokers abstain from smoking for a minimum of 72 hours to avoid complicating the healing process. The chemical toxins in cigarette smoke slow healing, trigger inflammation and often cause the serious complication known as dry socket, and should be avoided as long as possible for complication-free healing.
Only 2 to 5 percent of tooth extraction patients develop a dry socket, but WebMD reports that a large proportion of those who suffer from dry socket are smokers. Dry socket occurs when the bone and nerves underlying the socket left behind by the removed tooth are exposed to air, bacteria, food and liquids.
According to MedicineNet.com, cigarette smoking triggers dry socket in two ways. The sucking action of smoking can dislodge the blood clot that is meant to protect the nerves and bone. In other cases of dry socket, the nicotine within cigarette smoke slows down blood flow to the point that a clot may not even form at all.
Patients with dry sockets suffer from severe pain that develops within a few days after tooth extraction according to WebMD. This condition also makes patients more susceptible to infection, which causes additional pain and inflammation.