Objectives: The purpose of this study is to assess the contribution of smoking to postoperative complications, including alveolar osteitis (dry socket), after dental extractions. In addition, it attempts to determine the effect of the ban imposed on tobacco use in the prison on postoperative complications.
Study design: All inmates having dental extractions at the Federal Correctional Institution in Danbury, CT, during the period January 2004 to April 2005, were included in this study (N = 219; mean age = 37.7 years). Data on postextraction complications were analyzed for association with smoking by using the chi-square test. Significance was set at P < .05.
Results: The incidences of overall complications and alveolar osteitis were 19.6% and 5.0%, respectively. It was found that (1) there was a significant difference in overall complications between smokers and nonsmokers (P = .02), (2) there was a significant difference in the incidence of alveolar osteitis between mandibular third molar and other extractions, regardless of smoking status (P = .02), (3) surgical trauma contributed significantly to both an increase in total complications (P = .05) and alveolar osteitis (P = .01), and (4) smoking appeared to be a contributing factor to increased complications among multiple extractions (P = .03).
Conclusion: In this study, smoking, mandibular third molars, and surgical trauma were significantly associated with the increased incidence of overall complications including alveolar osteitis.