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Discover what to eat after wisdom teeth extraction: foods to eat and avoid.
Wisdom teeth are the third set of molars located at the back of your mouth. Usually, they happen when you are between 17 and 25 years old.
It is common to have wisdom teeth removed. They may need to be removed because they are affected and do not arrive normally.
Or, it may be necessary to remove them because they come at the wrong angle.
During the removal procedure, you will be anesthetized. Many surgeons will use some form of local anesthesia, sedation, or general anesthesia.
If your teeth are not yet in place, your surgeon will likely make incisions to remove them. They may need to remove bone if it is blocking access to the root of the tooth.
After the teeth are removed, they will clean the site and add stitches to close the incision site if necessary. They will also place gauze on the extraction site.
What you eat after your wisdom teeth are extracted is important. Eating soft or liquid foods will not irritate the extraction site, helping it to heal faster.
Certain foods and drinks can irritate or get stuck in the extraction sites, leading to infection. It is important to follow your doctor’s directions on what to eat after surgery.
Immediately after your wisdom teeth are extracted and during your recovery, you will want to start with liquid and soft foods.
You won’t have to chew these foods, which will save you pain. Avoid eating harder foods at this time, as they may damage or get stuck in the recovery area.
Examples of liquid and soft foods:
• broths and mixed soups
• mashed potatoes
• Jell-O, pudding, and ice cream
Cold foods like jelly, smoothies, and ice cream can help alleviate some ailments.
Nutrient-rich soups and smoothies can help promote healing. Soups, in particular, can help balance the other high-sugar options on the list.
As you begin to heal, you can incorporate more normal foods. Start easily with semi-soft foods like scrambled eggs, instant oatmeal, and toast before moving on to foods like chicken, fruits, and vegetables.
There are certain foods that you should avoid consuming after your wisdom teeth are extracted.
Stick to the foods listed above for the first few days. Avoid the following foods for a week or more until the extraction site has healed.
• Acidic and spicy foods (including citrus juice) can cause irritation and pain.
• Alcoholic beverages can irritate the area and are likely to interact negatively with pain relievers prescribed by your doctor.
• Grains (including rice and quinoa) and all types of seeds can easily be trapped in the extraction site.
• Foods that are hard to chew (including nuts, chips, and dried meat) can reopen stitches and delay healing.
You should also avoid smoking or using any type of tobacco for at least 72 hours after the operation, as this can greatly increase the risk of complications. Do not use chewing tobacco for at least a week.
For the first 24 to 48 hours, eat only liquids, soft foods like yogurt, apple sauce, and ice cream. Cold foods can help relieve some of the discomforts.
As you get better, you can try incorporating more solid foods. On the third day after the operation, try foods like eggs, toast, or oatmeal.
Gradually continue to increase the amount of solid food, as chewing does not cause pain. If you feel pain while chewing, switch back to soft and semi-soft foods.
Many people can resume normal eating within a week.
Complications from wisdom tooth extraction are not common, but they can occur. The most common complication is reopening the extraction site, which delays healing.
Dry sockets are also common. They occur when the blood does not clot in the tooth socket or when the clot dislodges. This usually happens three to five days after the tooth has been extracted.
Dry sleeves can be treated by your surgeon. They will clean up the debris and may cover the cavity with a medicated bandage. Symptoms of dry sockets include:
• an unpleasant taste or smell coming from the socket
• aching or throbbing pain in the gum or jaw (this may be severe)
• exposed bone
Infections can be caused by food particles or other bacteria trapped in the socket where your wisdom teeth were removed.
Bacteria can spread throughout the body and need to be treated quickly. Symptoms of an infection include:
• blood or pus from the extraction site
• jaw muscle spasms
• painful or swollen gums near the extraction area
• bad taste or odor in the mouth
Nerve damage from wisdom tooth extraction is rare, but it can occur. During surgery, the trigeminal nerve can be injured.
The injury is most often temporary and lasts several weeks or months. Nerve damage can be permanent if the injury is severe. Symptoms of nerve damage caused by wisdom tooth extraction include:
• numbness or tingling in the gums, tongue, chin, surrounding teeth, and lower lips
If you have any signs of an allergic reaction, see an emergency doctor. You may be allergic to medications prescribed by your doctor, including pain relievers. Signs of an allergic reaction include:
• shortness of breath
• difficulty in breathing
• feeling like your throat is tightening or your tongue swelling
• rapid heartbeat
• skin rash
Most people recover quickly from wisdom tooth extraction, as long as they follow the doctor’s instructions during recovery.
Eating and drinking the right foods – and avoiding the wrong ones – is a crucial part of these instructions.
You will be much more comfortable and you will significantly reduce the risk of complications.