Wisdom teeth removal is a fairly common oral surgical procedure. Typically coming in between the ages of 17 to 25, your wisdom teeth are the third set of molars toward the back of your mouth. Usually, the reason for wisdom teeth removal is that they are impacted (are not growing normally and can cause pain), came in at the incorrect angle, or that your jaw and mouth are not large enough to accommodate them. The surgery is usually a straightforward process, with most people recovering within a few days.
Wisdom Teeth Recovery
During the wisdom teeth removal procedure, the patient is given a general or local anesthetic, and some incisions may be necessary to gain access to teeth that have not grown in yet or have not grown in fully. Following removal of the teeth, stitches will be added to the incision site, and gauze will be placed over the area. Depending on the type of anesthetic used, you might not wake up from the surgery right away, and feelings of confusion are commonplace.
The recovery following wisdom teeth surgery isn’t complicated and requires that the patient adheres to a relatively simple protocol. First, drinking plenty of fluids to rehydrate your body following wisdom teeth removal is a must. Additionally, using an ice pack to reduce swelling and moist heat for jaw soreness are helpful points. Your oral surgeon might make further recommendations, such as slowly opening and closing your mouth to start to gently exercise your jaw and only eating specific suggested foods for a certain period of time. Following the advice given to you by your oral surgeon or dentist, it is essential to your healing and the procedure’s success.
Wisdom Teeth Removal Complications
While the recovery process following wisdom teeth removal isn’t usually complex, some problems can arise if you do not carefully follow your dentist or oral surgeon’s recommendations.
Dry socket is one of the most commonly discussed complications of wisdom teeth surgery. When a tooth is pulled from the mouth like during wisdom teeth removal, there is a hole in the bone that is exposed. A blood clot forms to protect the bone and surrounding tissue, but it can sometimes become dislodged, resulting in a painful “dry socket” or exposed bone that is vulnerable to infection. Dry socket is quite painful, can cause a fever and a throbbing feeling– and it can last for up to a week. Dry mouth, which can be associated with dry socket, is another post-oral surgery complication. However, dry mouth causes can be something other than recent oral surgery, including medications or health conditions like diabetes.
Infection is another possible complication following the removal of your wisdom teeth. This can happen from small food particles or bacteria becoming trapped in the exposed socket and can be quite painful if left untreated.
Finally, there is a slight risk for damage to nearby nerves and teeth, as well as damage to the jawbone.
If you suspect that you are suffering from any of these complications following your wisdom teeth surgery, contact your oral surgeon or visit the dentist as soon as you can.
One of the most important actions you can take to ensure that your recovery process goes as smoothly as possible is to eat only the recommended foods. By doing so, you can provide your body with the nutrition that it needs to heal and avoid painful complications like dry sockets and infection.
What to Eat After Wisdom Teeth Removal
What you eat following wisdom teeth removal is a vital part of the recovery process. Following the procedure, your dentist or oral surgeon will walk you through what you should and should not be eating and might even provide you with a packet of information to bring home as well. However, if you cannot remember which soft foods to eat or just want to double-check, check out the list of recommendations below.
What Soft Foods Are Okay to Eat Right After Wisdom Teeth Removal?
Wondering what to eat after wisdom teeth removal? Ideally, you want to eat soft and smooth foods immediately after your surgery like: soups, yogurt or ice cream (cold foods also help you with the pain and the swelling). By sticking to these types of foods, you can avoid any potential irritation resulting from food bits and pieces getting attached in the areas where the teeth were removed. Additionally, choosing nutrient-dense foods will aid in the recovery process and help your body heal itself following surgery. The following are just a few examples of which foods to eat after wisdom teeth removal:
After the first 48 hours, and if you feel better, you can start incorporating more solid foods like eggs or toasts, mostly things that are not small pieces that can get stuck. If you feel pain when chewing, go back to the soft foods we mentioned before.
What Foods Should You Avoid After Wisdom Teeth Removal?
Knowing which foods you should avoid eating following wisdom teeth surgery is just as important, if not more important, than knowing which foods you should eat. Consuming the incorrect foods too soon after having your wisdom teeth removed can result in unwanted and painful complications, like infection and dry socket. The main types of food that you want to avoid are anything that is crunchy or can crumble into small pieces and subsequently get stuck in the area from which your teeth were extracted. Additionally, you should try to avoid any foods that are particularly spicy or acidic, as these also have the potential to cause irritation to the sensitive areas of your mouth and sensitive teeth following oral surgery. The following are a few examples of foods you should avoid eating right after wisdom teeth surgery:
Avoiding these foods and those that are similar will help set you up for successful recovery from wisdom teeth removal and hopefully prevent any surgical complications. But do make sure that you are still eating enough food and food that has adequate nutrition to allow your body to heal- if you need more ideas, a quick Internet search for “food to eat after tooth extraction” is sure to yield some great options.
Can a patient drink alcohol after wisdom teeth removal?
Once you get your wisdom teeth extracted, you need to follow all your dentist’s instructions, including avoiding alcohol for some time. Generally, you need to avoid alcoholic beverages for at least 72 hours.
Your mouth needs to rest and heal itself within the first few days after the extraction. This period gives the wound time to develop blood clots and ensure that the bleeding stops. Depending on the individual, this whole process might last anywhere between 48 hours and one week.
The main question that most people ask is ‘can you drink alcohol after wisdom teeth removal?’
Well, you can only drink alcohol after wisdom teeth removal, but only after the wound is completely healed. Here’s why:
Why you shouldn’t drink alcohol after a tooth extraction
Dentists recommend that you avoid certain drinks after having a tooth extraction. Here are some major reasons you need to avoid alcohol after wisdom teeth removal:
Your dentist will use anesthesia during the extraction process to help you numb the pain and feel more relaxed. However, your body will still be under anesthetic effect right after extraction.
Consuming alcohol may amplify dizziness and for this reason, dentists will suggest personal supervision for a while after oral surgery.
If the clot is dislodged prematurely or the blood is unable to clot, you might get a painful condition known as dry socket. A dry socket is not only painful but also opens you up to bacterial infections as the nearby bones and nerves become more vulnerable.
Drinking alcoholic beverages can disturb a blood clot at the extraction area. This further elevates the development of a dry socket leading to a slow recovery process, among other complications.
Soon after your extraction, your dentist will prescribe pain killers to help alleviate the discomfort you may feel later on. It is a no-brainer that alcohol doesn’t sit well with pain relievers. This bad combo might expose you to adverse impacts, including dizziness or liver damage. Stay away from alcohol as you give your body time to heal from surgery.
So, when can you drink alcohol after wisdom teeth removal?
Well, you ought to give ample time for the wound to completely heal (form blood clots) before you can drink alcohol. This usually takes between 48 and 72 hours or more.
What drinks should I avoid after wisdom teeth removal?
Alcohol is probably the most common answer to this question. However, besides alcoholic beverages, there are also other drinks that you may want to hold off for a few days after wisdom teeth extraction. They are:
Your body needs time to heal, and this usually involves staying away from anything that might tamper with blood clotting. In this case, coffee is mainly consumed hot, and this will only disturb the blood clots, extending your recovery time ‒ if not also causing a dry socket.
If you must drink coffee every day (we know how addictive it can be), you’d rather have it cold brewed.
Acidic drinks, especially those that contain citric acid, are best avoided for at least a week after wisdom teeth extraction. Consuming acidic beverages, such as lemonades, is like squirting lemon juice on an open wound on your skin ‒ NOT FUN.
What drinks are okay to consume after wisdom teeth removal?
Water is the best drink to consume after you’ve had your wisdom teeth extracted. Besides water, you can still drink a selected few flavored beverages that are neither hot nor acidic in nature.
For instance, milk (or milkshakes), apple juice, ginger ale, and smoothies are all perfectly acceptable.