Wisdom teeth are the molars that develop last in our mouth. They are the strongest, and we use them to chew food. People often remove them because they cause dental problems as they get older. There are risks involved when one extracts wisdom teeth. These risks include swelling of the face, dry socket, and bleeding. It can be difficult to figure out what to eat after wisdom teeth removal due to the swelling and pain, thus, there’s a need to eat special meals. You can eat several foods after the dentist removes your wisdom teeth, and we’ll provide some tips for the proceeding days after your wisdom teeth are removed.
Wisdom teeth removal is very common, and complications are typically rare if you follow the instructions from your dentist for post-operative care. However, there can be exceptions, and it’s important to be aware of the most common potential complications so you can bring them up immediately to your dental professional if you begin to experience them.
- Pain and swelling. To some degree, this is to be expected, and your dentist may prescribe over-the-counter pain medication if it becomes severe. Most swelling will not become apparent until the day following surgery and will not reach its maximum until 48 to 72 hours post-operatively. If it continues to be severe after a few days of rest and medication, you may need to go in for an appointment to have your dentist take a closer look.
- Inability to fully open your mouth. Prolonged jaw stiffness can also occur after a tooth extraction, including wisdom teeth. If you experience this, your dentist may prescribe medication or physical therapy.
- Excessive bleeding. It’s not uncommon to experience some bleeding for the first 12 hours after the procedure as the wounds form the necessary blood clot in the extraction site. However, if it persists beyond this point, you should contact your dentist for further instructions.
- Numb lips. In rare cases, nerves near the extraction site can trigger lip numbness. While this is typically temporary, if it lingers you should talk to your dentist immediately.
- Dry socket. If the blood clot that forms in the extraction site becomes dislodged, you run the risk of a dry socket. Dry socket is a painful condition where the nerves under your gums are exposed to food and oxygen and is most common within three to five days after removal. Check out our tips for avoiding dry socket.
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To avoid many of these complications, you’ll want to focus on your diet in the immediate aftermath of the surgery. The most important thing to realize is that you need to consume soft foods that do not require chewing. This is because your gums will have wounds that will make chewing very uncomfortable. Also, you should avoid allowing bacteria to get trapped in the open gum so that the wound does not become infected. It’s also advisable to eat healthy meals despite the challenges you may have while eating after your wisdom teeth removal.
First Five Days
The first five days after having your wisdom teeth removed can be the toughest. Below are some suggestions for things you can eat in the days following the procedure that will be more comfortable to eat and also help get you the nutrition you need to recover.
Figuring out what to eat after wisdom teeth removal day one is typically the most difficult. As previously mentioned, you should definitely avoid solid foods. To make sure you get appropriate nutrition, blended lukewarm soups and smoothies are a great option. Soups and smoothies can be made with plenty of fruits and vegetables as well as protein powders to provide the vitamins and minerals you would expect from a balanced meal. Other options for comfort and nutrition include fruit and vegetable juice, broth, and water. Consuming cold things will help sooth the incision and ease your pain, so plan to have a lot of cold items after wisdom teeth removal, especially on day one.
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Ensure that you maintain the blood clot that forms on the area where the wisdom teeth were. If you lose the clot you will be at the risk of dry socket, so avoid using straws that could come in contact with the clot and jar it loose.
Day two will likely be much like day one, but typically you will be able to eat soft foods that do not need chewing after 24 hours. These foods include Jell-O, purees, yogurt, and soups. Note that the gums will be sensitive, and you should only consume foods at a lukewarm temperature rather than warm or hot foods which can cause pain to your healing wounds. You will also need to remain vigilant that food doesn’t get stuck in your wounds which brings on the threat of bacterial infection.
At this point you will still not be able to chew solid food. However, you can take soft solid foods such as mashed potatoes, scrambled eggs, and oatmeal. Ensure that you allow the food to cool before attempting to eat anything.
Eating soft foods continues to be crucial on the fourth day because the gums are still not fully healed. It helps if you continue to consume cold foods and beverages as they will help keep you comfortable and sooth the healing gums. People find it easier to eat a wider variety of foods at this stage like soft sandwiches (ex. egg salad), ramen noodles, and mashed bananas and avocadoes.
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Fifth Day and Beyond
At this point, most people are beginning to feel noticeably better after their wisdom teeth removal, but you will still want to watch what you eat on this day. It is necessary to ensure that you do not injure your gums where the wisdom teeth were extracted. While you can likely expand your diet to include other non-chewy food items like spaghetti, macaroni, and cottage cheese, you’ll still want to proceed with caution. Ensure that you adopt crunchy foods as time goes by to allow the incision to heal.
Having a meal plan after having your wisdom teeth removed will be extremely important for your recovery. Consult your dentist if you have questions or specific dietary requirements that might be a concern before having the procedure done. If you’re located in Southeast Michigan and are in need of wisdom teeth extraction, contact any of our Fortson Dentistry locations today and set up an appointment.