Smoking Weed After a Root Canal

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Written by Casandra Jones on 12/11/2023.
Data Last Updated: 07/22/2024.

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Getting a root canal can be an unpleasant experience. The procedure aims to remove infected pulp from inside the tooth and fill the space, stopping further infection or decay. As the anesthesia wears off afterwards, some pain or discomfort is common. This leads some people to turn to cannabis for relief. But is smoking weed after a root canal safe or advisable? This article covers what you need to know.

What is a Root Canal?

What is a Root Canal?

A root canal is a dental procedure involving:

  • Removing the tooth pulp and nerve from the inside of the tooth
  • Disinfecting and cleaning out the empty canals
  • Filling and sealing the space to prevent further infection

It is done when the pulp becomes infected or inflamed due to decay or injury. Symptoms calling for a root canal include toothache, swelling, sensitivity, or darkening of the tooth.

Can you smoke weed for pain relief after a root canal procedure?

Can you smoke weed for pain relief after a root canal procedure?

The short answer is no. While you might be tempted to use cannabis to manage post-procedure discomfort, it’s important to note that marijuana has analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties. However, any form of smoking, including cigarettes, should be avoided for several reasons.

Potential Risks

  • Dry socket – Smoking can dislodge the blood clot sealing the wound and cause a painful complication called dry socket. This exposes nerves and bone, causing severe throbbing pain requiring further treatment. (1
  • Bleeding – Smoking raises blood pressure and can cause bleeding from the surgical site. Blood clots are vital for proper healing and their dislodgement impairs recovery. (2
  • Infection – Combusted smoke carries bacteria and contaminants. Pulling hard on a joint creates suction that can disturb the surgical area. Both these factors heighten chances of developing a localized infection.
  • Slow healing – Cannabinoids like THC constrict blood vessels and could negatively impact supply of nutrients and oxygen to the area trying to heal. (3)

Improved and Healthier Alternatives to Smoking Weed

Improved and Healthier Alternatives to Smoking Weed

Instead of smoking cannabis flower, consider safer options like:

  • Edibles – Ingesting edibles delays onset but the effects often last much longer. This can provide lasting relief without smoke exposure to the mouth.
  • Tinctures – Fast-acting and easily measurable, cannabis tinctures placed under the tongue provide relief avoiding dental contact.
  • Topicals – Creams, gels or balms treat localized pain when applied to the outer skin without entering the bloodstream.
  • Vaping – Using a dry herb vaporizer heats cannabis just below combustion, delivering vapor rather than smoke. This reduces infection risks.

Discuss options with your dentist or doctor for their specific recommendation on your ideal pain management approach after a root canal, especially if combining cannabis with prescription medications. Be transparent about your cannabis use.

When is it safe to smoke marijuana again after undergoing root canal treatment?

When is it safe to smoke marijuana again after undergoing root canal treatment?

Healing from a root canal with stitches generally takes 1-2 weeks. It’s best to refrain from smoking and follow dentist directions during this period. A follow-up appointment will confirm when it has healed properly.

Once the site has closed, your dentist will place a permanent crown or cap and restoration will be complete. At this point smoking cannabis should not cause an issue. But continue monitoring for any signs of complications and stop use if pain worsens.

Key Takeaways

Smoking weed comes with considerable risks immediately after a root canal and should be avoided. Wait until healing is complete and discuss options with your healthcare provider, considering safer alternatives in the interim for pain relief if required. With a little patience and by taking proper precautions, you can avoid complications and extra discomfort in your recovery.

FAQ:

Can vaping cannabis be a safer alternative to smoking after a root canal?

Vaping cannabis is generally considered safer than smoking since it involves inhaling vapor instead of smoke. However, it’s still best to consult with your dentist for personalized advice.

Can I use cannabis topicals for pain relief after a root canal?

Cannabis topicals can be used for localized pain relief. They are applied externally and do not enter the bloodstream, hence they do not pose the same risks as smoking.

Is it safe to use cannabis edibles after a root canal?

Cannabis edibles may be a safer alternative as they do not involve smoking. However, it’s important to start with low doses and consult with your healthcare provider, especially if you’re taking other medications.

Is it just cannabis that should be avoided after a root canal, or are cigarettes also harmful?

It’s not just cannabis that should be avoided; smoking cigarettes is also harmful after a root canal. 

Sources:

  1. Kuśnierek, W., Brzezińska, K., Nijakowski, K., & Surdacka, A. (2022). Smoking as a Risk Factor for Dry Socket: A Systematic Review. Dentistry journal10(7), 121. https://doi.org/10.3390/dj10070121 
  2. Fan Chiang, Y. H., Lee, Y. W., Lam, F., Liao, C. C., Chang, C. C., & Lin, C. S. (2023). Smoking increases the risk of postoperative wound complications: A propensity score-matched cohort study. International wound journal20(2), 391–402. https://doi.org/10.1111/iwj.13887
  3. Heath, D. M., Koslosky, E. J., Bartush, K. C., & Hogue, G. D. (2022). Marijuana in Orthopaedics: Effects on Bone Health, Wound-Healing, Surgical Complications, and Pain Management. JBJS reviews10(2), e21.00184. https://doi.org/10.2106/JBJS.RVW.21.00184

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