Being Mindful Following Dental Surgery
The days following dental surgery—especially one as serious as wisdom tooth removal—require that patients be mindful when using their mouths to ensure their surgical incisions heal properly.
Getting enough to eat after wisdom tooth removal can, therefore, be challenging, but eating well can help prevent postoperative difficulties. A reasonable diet will ensure a quick recovery, whereas consuming the wrong foods will increase your risk of dry socket and infection.
1. Eating Well During Wisdom Tooth Recovery
Many patients experience swelling around the oral cavity during wisdom tooth recovery, making it difficult to maintain a regular diet. Pain relief medication and ice packs can minimize their discomfort, but being mindful of what they eat to avoid complications is crucial to recovery and in reducing the risk of infection.
As such, immediately after your wisdom tooth removal, your diet should consist of liquids or soft foods that require minimal chewing. Over time, slowly begin to reincorporate foods that are tougher to chew.
First 24 Hours
Within the first 24 hours following your procedure, it’s easiest to stick to a mostly liquid diet. You can include items such as:
- Warm broth
- Pureed soups
- Creamy peanut butter
- Nutritional shakes
Milkshakes and smoothies are also liquids you can incorporate, but it’s best to avoid thick drinks that require a straw.
On day two, the pain should subside a fair amount, and you can then begin incorporating more food, but keep chewing to a minimum. Stick to soft foods, such as:
- Mashed potatoes
- Cottage cheese
- Thinly sliced cheese
You’re the best judge of what you think you can handle, and continuing your liquid diet may be best if your mouth is still very tender.
Nevertheless, it’s essential that you get enough protein. You can do this while eating softer foods by blending soups, adding cheese to mashed potatoes, using a protein powder in smoothies, or eating more nut butter.
Day Three and Beyond
By day three, most patients have minimal swelling and are ready to begin chewing once again. Practice chewing on the opposite side of the mouth (unless you had teeth removed on both sides, in which case, be extra cautious) so food particles do not get stuck in your wound, prohibiting healing.
At this point, the best foods to eat after wisdom teeth removal include:
- Refried beans
- Chicken or tuna salad
- Macaroni and cheese
- Soft pastas
Continue adding cheese or using protein powder to increase your protein intake while returning to your normal diet. You can slowly add more solid foods that require more chewing as your mouth can tolerate them.
Keep paying attention to any discomfort you experience while eating, as chewing aggressively or biting on foods that are too hard and near the extraction site could create complications.
2. Foods to Avoid During Recovery
As part of your wisdom teeth removal diet, your dentist may recommend avoiding hard, crunchy foods like nuts and some cereals, but you can still enjoy them by pureeing them to make them easier to chew. It’s also important to avoid spicy foods, any food containing seeds, and crunchy or tough foods like jerky, pizza, and popcorn.
3. Common Wisdom Tooth Recovery Mistakes to Avoid
Eating the right foods after dental surgery isn’t the only factor to consider during your recovery. Your dentist will give you post-operative instructions, and closely following them is crucial to avoiding common mistakes patients make.
Drinking Through a Straw
Your dentist may recommend smoothies and milkshakes for post-treatment meals, but using a straw instead of a spoon to enjoy them may cause complications. The suction motion created by the straw could remove or delay the formation of blood clots. Without them, you could develop dry socket, which is a painful condition when the underlying jawbone and nerves are exposed.
Most dentists recommend avoiding alcoholic beverages for at least 48 hours after your wisdom tooth extraction. Your mouth needs time to rest and heal, and consuming alcohol could prevent blood clots from developing.
Aside from the negative oral health effects, cigarettes can increase the discomfort of your wisdom tooth removal. The suction, like with straws, can also disrupt the formation of blood clots and increase the risk of forming a dry socket.
Most dentists will recommend limiting physical activity for a minimum of four days after treatment, as exercising too soon could dislodge any clots, exposing the bone and nerves.
4. Drinking Plenty of Water
Drinking lots of water during your recovery is necessary to ensure you remain hydrated, but water also keeps your mouth clean and free from bacteria. Avoid sugary or acid drinks, as they may delay healing.
5. Tips for When You Don’t Feel Like Eating
Sometimes, during wisdom tooth recovery, you don’t feel like eating anything at all, but you need to remain nourished. When your appetite is less than stellar, try making your childhood favorites or some other comfort foods that you know you’ll enjoy.
Meet the best dentist for your wisdom teeth removal.
Wisdom teeth can lead to severe complications when left untreated. Consult your dentist if you are unsure whether your wisdom teeth must be removed. If you need a dentist, schedule a consultation with Allred Family Dentistry! Call us today!