"What to eat after wisdom teeth removal" is a frequently asked question by our readers. So we decide to cover this topic in a professional way.
Wisdom teeth don’t cause trouble for everyone. However, wisdom teeth can often cause tremendous amounts of pain and added dental complications. Roughly 85 percent of adults have had at least one of their wisdom teeth removed at one point or another in their lifetime.
Usually, dentists will recommend extraction if you are feeling discomfort or as a precautionary measure if your mouth has no room left for more teeth to come in causing potential alignment issues. If your wisdom tooth or any other impacted teeth are surgically removed, you should follow the post-operative care instructions given to you by your dentist.
Oral surgery is not something you should take lightly as it is a rather serious issue. You should ask your orthodontist for specific guidelines about how you should care for the incision site. You should get clear instructions on things you should and should not do.
Failure to follow these instructions can complicate and exacerbate the issue, like causing a painful infection. One of the aspects you need to be careful about after extraction is what you eat.
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In this article, we will share some wisdom about what and how to eat after you get your third molars (technical term for wisdom teeth) extracted when you can start eating solid or spicy food, and after how long you can eat normally.
Common Questions About What to Eat After Wisdom Teeth Removal
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Once you have had your wisdom teeth extracted, your primary focus is to aid healing and maximize your recovery. What you eat is really integral to the healing process. Right after the surgery, you should stick to a liquid or soft diet. By limiting foods that may irritate the wound, get stuck or trapped in the recovering area, and avoiding hard to chew foods that could strain your jaw muscles, you provide the best opportunity for healing to the extraction site. Here are a few commonly asked questions you may have about your diet post-surgery.
Why Can’t I Eat Solid Food After Oral Surgery?
There are two major reasons why you are recommended to avoid solid food after Oral Surgery.
- The site of the wisdom tooth extraction is basically an exposed vulnerable space in the gums. It is easy for solid food to get caught in this area and prevent the wound from closing. This is one of the primary causes of infection.
- Secondly, there is swelling and strain on the gums and muscles as they are healing. Opening your mouth wide or applying pressure to chew will add stress to the wound. By limiting your diet to soft food, you are minimizing the additional strain put on the muscles, allowing t hem to heal quicker.
Can I Have Spicy Food After Tooth Extraction?
Ideally, you should avoid spicy food after wisdom teeth removal for a minimum of 72 hours to about 2 weeks. It is important to abstain from cayenne pepper, paprika, other spicy peppers or spicy food because the spices can get into your extraction site and cause irritation. Irritated wounds will take substantially longer to heal.
Can I have Hot food or Beverages After Tooth Extraction?
While you can safely consume food that is at a comfortable temperature, you should avoid really hot food or beverages for a couple of days after the extraction. Since heat increases blood flow, it can dislodge the clot on your wound and might cause infection.
What Can I Eat After a Wisdom Tooth Extraction?
You have plenty of safe and yummy food options in terms of diet that will optimize healing time. Ice cream and other cold items are popular choices to relieve any discomfort you may have. Additionally, you can have good soups and breakfast smoothies that are nutrient-rich to facilitate healing. You should begin with softer foods and incorporate semi-solid foods as your healing progresses. Some popular food choices after a wisdom tooth extraction include:
- apple sauce
- mashed potatoes
- protein shakes
- good soups
- Ice cream
- Soft Rice
What Beverages Can I Drink After Wisdom Teeth Removal?
While the intake of nutritious food is important, you must remember that hydration is also an essential contributor to the healing process. You must stay hydrated when recovering from wisdom teeth removal. Fluid intake is vital to support your healing process. You should drink lots of water and drinks that contain added electrolytes like Gatorade in the first 24-48 hours after your dental surgery to stay properly hydrated.
When Can I Have Alcohol After Wisdom Teeth Removal?
Alcoholic beverages should be avoided for nearly 2 weeks after your surgery as alcohol interacts negatively with certain pain medication and can delay healing. This includes abstinence from not just beer, wine, and hard liquor, but also from using mouthwash with high alcohol contents. Alcohol has the tendency to dry out and irritate gums and surrounding tissues. So unless you want to prolong your healing time and want to risk a difficult recovery, it is advisable to avoid alcohol.
Can I Use a Straw to Consume Allowed Beverages?
You should avoid using straws for the first 2 weeks after wisdom teeth surgery. As discussed earlier, staying hydrated is very important for your healing. However, you must keep in mind that even the beverages that are okay for consumption in the early days should be had directly from the cup and not through a straw. Actually sucking through straws creates suction pressure in the mouth which could dislodge the blood clot on the incision site and delay healing.
What Other Precautions Do I Need To Take In Terms Of Food?
In addition to the precautionary measures mentioned above, you should also be careful of the following food items as they may slow down healing or promote irritation
- Very hot Caffeinated Beverages
- Carbonated or Fizzy Drinks
- Grains or Lentils that could potentially get stuck in the wound
- Hard Candy or Chewy Candy
- Smoking Cigarettes or other Tobacco Products
After How Long Can I Eat Normal Food After Wisdom Teeth Extraction?
How long you have to watch your food intake and consume wisdom teeth recovery food depends on your healing. The time frame taken for healing wisdom teeth extraction wounds can vary from person to person, and case to case. However, barring complications, most people can return to their normal diet of regular everyday foods between days 7 to 14 after surgery. Trust your body. Start introducing more complex foods as you start to feel better. It is prudent, however, to plan for sufficient healing time.
When can I smoke after tooth extraction?
For avid smokers, it is quite tough to go without a cigarette for any amount of time. However, if you have had a major tooth extraction, you may want to hold off for a little bit, since smoking immediately after tooth extraction can exacerbate the damage and increase your healing process time manifold.
The chemical toxins in cigarettes delay your healing. Smoking right after tooth extraction can cause certain complications which can cause inflammation in your gums, irritate the extraction site, and cause pain and swelling. Smoking too soon after tooth extraction can also cause a dry socket, which may make it difficult to open your mouth fully.
Healing after a tooth extraction begins after blood starts clotting around the wound. Smoking can loosen the clot and delay healing. Dentists suggest you refrain from smoking for a minimum of three days to allow blood clots to form properly.
Can you get braces with missing teeth?
One of the concerns people may have after an extraction is whether or not they will be able to get braces to straighten the rest of their teeth. The good news is that you can not only get braces with missing teeth, but braces are a great option for people missing a tooth or two since braces can close unsightly gaps, or widen them if needed to create the perfect space you may need to get an implant or replacement. However, unless the teeth surrounding the implant are themselves targeted for orthodontic treatment, then your orthodontist might recommend getting an implant before you get braces.
When Can I Brush my Teeth Normally?
To prevent having food from getting caught around the surgical site, you should keep your mouth clean in the aftermath of wisdom tooth removal. You can start brushing your teeth, albeit very gently starting day two. While most kinds of toothpaste and brushes should be okay to use, if even gentle brushing causes discomfort, you should refrain. You should also avoid using any mouthwash unless recommended by your dentist. Instead, you could use warm salt water to cleanse your mouth, but be careful not to swish as swishing may dislodge the blood clot. See this video for complete guidance.
In case you have doubts about your healing progress and are unsure whether your healing is sufficient to transition back to using straws or eating spicy, hot, chewy foods, the best idea is always to visit your dentist or orthodontist for a follow-up. To help make your choices easier, take a look at this 5-day guide for eating after a wisdom tooth extraction.
A 5 Days guide for Eating After a Wisdom Tooth Extraction
What to Eat on DAY 1
If your surgeon sedated you for the surgery, you would have been required to fast the day before the surgery. Fasting on top of the physical taxation of dental surgery means that your body will need adequate nutritional replenishment. However, since you are likely to be on a fair amount of pain medication and antibiotics, you may not feel like eating. You should limit your diet to soft food that has high nutritional value. Here are some tips for Day 1:
- Avoid solid foods completely
- Consume liquids like broth, ice-cream, yogurt,
- Stay hydrated with juice, Gatorade, water
- Eating will help you avoid nausea from medications.
- Ice your wound site several times.
What to Eat on DAY 2
On the second day, you may add some soft food to your diet in addition to fluids. Do not attempt tough, crispy or chewy foods. However, you may have foods that are a bit more substantial like scrambled or poached eggs, cheeses, applesauce etc. Here are some tips for Day 2:
- Don’t let the food you eat sit on the extraction site.
- Chew slowly and carefully as you are likely to still have sensitivity and swelling.
What to Eat on DAY 3
On the third day, you should also eat mostly soft foods. If you feel like your healing has progressed remarkably, you may include semi-solids like mashed peas, mashed potatoes and soft rice. However, you should be particularly cautious and avoid getting any bits of food stuck in the incision sites.
What to Eat on DAY 4
By day 4, many people give up on cautious eating. However, this is not advisable as while you may feel better, your incision is still a bit raw. You should continue to eat soft and semi-solid foods with plenty of liquids.
What to Eat on DAY 5
Day five is when you can add some softer solid food to your meals like soft pasta, minced meats, bread and eggs etc. Just remember to be mindful and not be over-ambitious with your eating practices.
What to Eat After 2 Weeks
After 2 weeks of having your wisdom teeth removed, you can generally eat whatever you are comfortable eating as about 85% of your healing should be complete provided you took the necessary precautions. There may be some tenderness on the healing sites but that is normal and will return to normal in another month or so. If any food causes you discomfort, pain or soreness when you eat it, avoid eating until you have healed some more.
Post Extraction Complications Caused by Eating
Severe complications from wisdom teeth extractions barely happen, but mild complications and infections can be commonly witnessed. More often than not, these complications usually occur from everyday eating before your wound was completely healed. Some of the common complications include:
- Dry sockets or alveolar osteitis.
- Infections caused by food particles or bacteria becoming trapped in incision
Timeline for Recovery
Most of the healing after wisdom tooth extraction surgery will take place within the first-week post-operation. You might have some tenderness for up to 2 more weeks. You should be patient and allow yourself time to heal.
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