There is a list of things to avoid to ensure healing goes smoothly and prevent wisdom teeth removal complications. Common things like intense exercise, poking the site of the extraction, and smoking after having your wisdom teeth removed are on the list. But it’s also important to avoid solid food while your socket heals. This includes salads, chicken, crunchy granola, and chewy snacks. This probably means you’ll need to change your eating habits during recovery, which can be stressful if you’re not prepared. That’s why we’ve outlined the best ways to aid your recovery, including what to eat after wisdom teeth removal, and when you can eat solid foods after having your wisdom teeth removed.
When can you eat solid food after wisdom teeth removal?
The third set of molars are often called wisdom teeth. Wisdom teeth generally appear between the ages of 17 and 21. Oftentimes, these teeth cause overcrowding or are impacted, which can lead to a misaligned bite. For these reasons, many people end up having their wisdom teeth extracted.
When you have your wisdom teeth removed, a blood clot forms in the hole where the tooth was, which gets replaced by bone growth from the jaw. During the first few days of recovery, you should be very gentle with your jaw and be careful not to disrupt the blood clot as it heals.
Are you wondering when you can eat solid food after wisdom teeth removal? It’s advised to slowly introduce solid foods into your diet about seven days after your surgery.
Wisdom tooth extraction is a simple procedure, but recovery can take some time. Because your mouth is healing, knowing what to eat after wisdom teeth removal is important. Solid foods that are firm or sharp can injure the recovery site or even dislodge the blood clot, which can lead to a dry socket. Choosing soft foods to eat after wisdom teeth removal goes a long way towards hastening the healing process and minimizes pain while eating.
What to eat after wisdom teeth removal
Your surgeon may send you home with a list of what to eat after wisdom teeth removal. You may have swelling, numbness, and pain immediately after your surgery, so you may want to plan and stock your pantry or fridge ahead of time with these soft foods so you don’t have to go to the store until you feel better. Here’s a convenient list of foods to eat after wisdom teeth removal:
- Mashed potatoes
- Mashed pumpkin
- Mashed bananas
- Ice cream
- Cottage cheese
- Instant oatmeal
- Non-salty salmon
- Warm (not hot) soup
Because you must avoid solid food for at least one week after your surgery, you need to ensure you are getting enough nutrients for your body. Try to plan and stock up on nutritious soups and broths. Ensure that you have enough food to eat after wisdom teeth removal that is soft and nutritious. Chicken, beef, and vegetable broths all have nutrients that your body needs. Blend your soups to remove any solid pieces while retaining the flavors you enjoy.
Foods to avoid after wisdom teeth removal
Give your mouth plenty of time to heal by eating foods that won’t disturb the socket. Solid foods with sharp edges can poke the site, causing bleeding, swelling, or even a painful dry socket. Foods to avoid during the first week of recovery include:
- Spicy flavors
- Solid meats
- Whole vegetables
- Hard or chewy candies
- Sugar and sweets
Though you may not want or be able to open your mouth much during recovery, it's very important to avoid using straws or making a sucking motion with your mouth. The sucking action can dislodge the blood clot and cause excessive bleeding and pain. This is commonly called a dry socket. Avoiding straws helps to prevent dry sockets. Alcohol can inflame the tissues in your mouth and cause pain and swelling around your socket, so avoid drinking alcohol for the first week of your recovery. Sugary foods like cookies, sweet treats, and soda can inflame the gums around your teeth due to plaque, causing further swelling to the gums around your socket. Be mindful of your list of foods to eat after wisdom teeth removal and stick to it.
How to take care of yourself after wisdom teeth removal
Give yourself proper care and attention after your surgery. You can alleviate discomfort and avoid unnecessary injury and pain by following some simple dos and don’ts. For example:
- Do chew on the other side: If you only had one or two teeth extracted, chew on the side opposite those sockets. If you have open sockets on both sides of your mouth, then chew very slowly and carefully. Sticking to the list of foods to eat after wisdom teeth removal helps reduce the chance of injuring a socket.
- Do brush and floss other teeth: Brush and floss the rest of the teeth in your mouth as normal, but stay away from your wisdom teeth sockets. This can reduce leftover food getting lodged into the sockets. You can also use a special toothbrush or toothpaste if your dentist recommends them.
- Do relax: Healing requires work and energy from the body. Give yourself time to take naps, sleep in, and find relaxing activities to do.
- Don’t touch the area: Avoid touching the sockets with your fingers or tongue and don’t prod it with any objects. Any type of interaction can cause further injury and pain.
- Don’t smoke: Smoking after wisdom teeth removal causes a sucking motion in your mouth, which can dislodge the blood clot and cause a dry socket. Avoid smoking after wisdom teeth removal for at least one week to give your socket a chance to heal.
- Don’t exercise too much: Excessive exercise can jostle your mouth or cause swelling around the injury. Take a week off from intense exercise. Try casual walks and simple stretches instead.
Some people have busy schedules or have to care for children or other loved ones. Make a point to make time for yourself and ensure you lay down, relax, and take it easy. Let your loved ones know what’s going on and ask for help if you need it. You can return to most activities after one week, and after two weeks, your socket should be well on its way to complete recovery.
Wisdom teeth removal complications
All surgeries come with the chance of complications. Knowing what they are can help you be prepared for all the possibilities during your healing process. Some wisdom teeth removal complications include:
- Dry socket
- Injury of the maxillary or mandibular nerves
Your surgeon should go over all of the possible complications. You may experience bleeding hours after your surgery, and the swelling may not go down for days. Nerve injury may lead to temporary or permanent loss of sensation, numbness, or tingling. Being aware of what can happen can help you take appropriate action if complications arise during your week of recovery. If you notice an infection or are unsure of new symptoms, be sure to contact your health professional and keep them informed of any wisdom teeth removal complications.
Wisdom teeth extraction is a very common procedure. Many people receive this procedure for one or all four of their wisdom teeth.
It takes one to two weeks for a socket to heal, but it can sometimes take longer, depending on the person. Give your body time to heal, and understand that it takes a lot of energy from the body to recover from surgery. Stick to the list of what to eat after wisdom teeth removal. Do what you can to aid the healing process like avoiding using straws and not smoking after wisdom teeth removal. Take naps and carve out time for yourself during your day. When you know the date of your surgery, get prepared and stock up on soft foods.
Avoid taxing activities and don’t schedule big events for the first week of recovery to give yourself time to destress and relax. Talk to your healthcare professional about any wisdom teeth removal complications. By the end of the first week, you should be feeling much better. Within two weeks, you should be almost back to normal and can continue your daily routine.