Smoking and Oral Surgery
How does smoking affect my oral surgery?
- Smoking delays the healing process because nicotine and other toxins are vasoconstrictor which means they decrease the natural size of your blood vessels (smaller vessels cannot move toxins & waste as quickly away from the surgical site)
- Cigarettes decrease blood flow to the gums which slows down the inflammation process which is responsible for healing the area and preventing infection
- Smoking increases bone loss and reduces the amount of bone that is regenerated after surgical procedures
- Also the heat of smoke can affect your body’s blood clotting performance and can cause bleeding
Why should I stop smoking?
- You will improve your overall health and the health of those around you.
- Your risk for heart and lung disease, cancer, stroke, heart attack, and vision problems will also decrease.
- You can benefit from quitting now no matter how long you have been smoking.
How can I prepare myself to stop smoking?
- Set a ‘quit date’. This will help to confirm your decision to stop smoking.
- Expect it to be hard to quit, but know that you can do it. Smoking is a daily habit that becomes a part of your life. Know the triggers that tempt you to smoke so that you can break this habit.
- Remove all tobacco and nicotine products from your home, car, and workplace. Also, remove anything else that will tempt you to smoke such as lighters, matches, or ashtrays.
- Tell friends and family that you plan to quit. Explain to them that you may have withdrawal symptoms when you try to quit. Ask them to support you. A good support system can encourage you and help motivate you.
What are some tools to help me stop smoking?
- Counseling from a trained healthcare provider is recommended. This will help you to manage your withdrawal symptoms and cravings.
- Nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) such as nicotine patches, gum, or lozenges may help reduce your nicotine cravings. You may get these without a Doctor’s order. Do not use e-cigarettes or smokeless tobacco in place of cigarettes to help you quit. They still contain nicotine.
- Prescription medications, such as nasal sprays or nicotine inhalers may help reduce your withdrawal symptoms. Other medications may also be used to reduce your urge to smoke. You may need to start certain medicines 2 weeks before your quite date for them to work well. Ask your healthcare provider about these medications.
How can I manage my cravings?
- Avoid situations, people, and places that tempt you to smoke. Go to nonsmoking places, such as libraries or restaurants. Understand what tempts you and try to avoid these things specifically.
- Keep your hands busy. Hold things frequently such as a stress ball or pen. Keep lollipops, gum, or toothpicks in your mouth to distract you from your cravings.
- Do not have alcohol or caffeine. These drinks may tempt you to smoke. Drink healthy liquids such as water or juice instead.
- Reward yourself when you resist your cravings. Rewards will motivate you to keep going and to stay positive.
What should I know about weight gain after I quit?
- It’s possible you may gain a few pounds after you quit smoking. Remember however, that quitting helps you decrease your risk for serious health problems caused by smoking.
- Try to eat healthy foods. Foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole-grains, low-fat dairy products, beans, lean meats and fish. Eat healthy snacks such as yogurt, if you get hungry between meals. Also try chewing sugarless gum.
- Drink water before, during, and between meals. This will make your stomach feel full and help prevent you from overeating. Ask your healthcare provider how much liquid to drink each day and which liquids are best for you.
- Exercise. Take a walk or do some kind of exercise every day. Ask your healthcare provider what exercise is right for you. This may help reduce your cravings and reduce stress.
Here are some resources that may help you further:
New York State Smokers’ Quitline
*Staffed by Quit Counselors located at Roswell Park who can tailor a quit plan to suit your lifestyle.
* Free and confidential
*You may also qualify for free nicotine replacement (NRT) products to get you started