If you’re a regular smoker, it can be difficult to quit or even take a break cold turkey. However, a root canal procedure is an involved procedure that requires proper healing and aftercare to be successful. The success of your root canal treatment is important because root canals are performed as a last resort to save a tooth before the only other option is extraction.
If you would like to keep your teeth and reduce your risk of bone loss, shifting and crooked teeth, and changes to your facial structure, then you must follow your aftercare instructions carefully, which include refraining from smoking at least until you have healed from the procedure.
Smoking is very harmful to your oral health, especially when you are healing. Not only does smoking prolong healing by constricting blood vessels and reducing oxygen, but it also increases your risk of needing a root canal in the future. Smokers are 1.7 times more likely to need root canal treatment than non-smokers.
Another harm of smoking is that it increases inflammation, which reduces your ability to ward off infection. The last thing you want after having a root canal is an infection. Smoking increases your risk of bone and tooth loss which can defeat the purpose of a root canal treatment, which is meant to prevent the need for an extraction.
Smoking poses an increased risk for many oral health problems, ranging from tooth decay and gum disease to halitosis and even oral cancer. Smoking is extremely harmful after having a tooth extracted or after oral surgery for dental implants. Smoking can dislodge blood clots and lead to a dry socket, which is extremely painful.
If you smoke 10 cigarettes or less a day, your risk of developing gum disease is tenfold compared to a non-smoker and your risk is 4 to 5 times as high as a nonsmoker if you smoke heavily. Even more concerning, smokers don’t respond as well to gum disease treatment as nonsmokers do. Aside from oral health problems, smoking can cause lung cancer.
While ideally, you shouldn’t smoke at all because it is harmful to your health and has no positive effects on your health, you should avoid smoking for as long as possible after a root canal. Since a root canal takes from a few days to 2 weeks to completely heal, you should refrain from smoking for at least this long.
Smoking increases your risk of complications, prolongs your healing, and increases your risk of needing more root canals and other dental treatments. By smoking directly after your root canal treatment, you are reversing the positive effects of the treatment.
Root canals take time and money so abstaining from smoking for a short period can save you in the long run. We understand that quitting can be difficult due to the addictive nature of cigarettes. This is why we encourage you to try to occupy yourself with other activities and positive habits during this time.
Exercising, taking up a new hobby, playing a sport, meditation, or keeping your mouth stimulated by chewing gum or drinking a glass of water instead of smoking can be helpful replacement activities.
When the inside pulp of our tooth becomes damaged, this can lead to infection, inflammation, and even cause the nerves inside of the tooth to die. A root canal is a highly effective treatment to get rid of the damaged pulp in your tooth and fill it back up.
95% of the time, a root canal works successfully to save the tooth from extraction and can last for the rest of your life. If you think you need a root canal in Rothschild, WI, contact us at Skutak Dental today at (715) 355-4433 Calls on Click or schedule an appointment online with Dr. Lisa M. Skutak.