Best Foods to Eat After Wisdom Teeth Removal
Wisdom teeth, the third set of molars that develop in the late teenage or early adult years, most often need to be removed. These large molars tend to cause problems as most people don’t have room in their mouth for them. As humans have evolved, our eating habits have changed and we no longer need our wisdom teeth to chew raw meat and twigs. Consequently, our jaws are now smaller and often can’t accommodate the wisdom teeth.
If your dentist has recommended having your wisdom teeth removed, you may be wondering about the recovery process, such as what you can eat afterwards. Here are some recommendations.
What to Eat in the First 24 Hours
The first 24 hours after wisdom teeth removal tends to be the most sensitive time. It can take a few hours for the anesthesia to wear off, so your mouth may still be numb. We recommend a liquid or “baby” diet during this time to minimize discomfort and to avoid accidentally biting your cheek, lip, or tongue when chewing. Anything you can safely swallow without the need to chew will be safe to eat. Eating is a must after surgery as it will help line your stomach for the medications you will be prescribed. Having enough food in your stomach can also help prevent nausea and vomiting after your procedure. Hot foods and drinks can cause prolonged bleeding, we always suggest sticking to colder items for the first few hours after your procedure if you are still bleeding significantly by the time you are home. Cold food and drinks will feel better on the tissues, help fight inflammation, and cause blood vessels in the mouth to tighten, thus helping to control bleeding.
TIPS FOR EATING AFTER WISDOM TEETH EXTRACTIONS:
- NO STRAWS! Any sort of suction created in the mouth can dislodge your newly formed clots and can result in “dry socket” which is very painful.
- The patient should also be careful when drinking from bottles, suction can be created and dislodge the newly formed clot.
- Check the temperature of any hot foods with your finger before eating them. The local anesthetic used to numb the surgical site can take a few hours to wear off. After that, inflammation can cause the nerve to be compressed and cause localized numbness therefore leaving you unable to feel if a food is too hot to eat.
- Eat before taking ANY medications. Liquids alone are not enough to line your stomach, especially if you had an IV for your procedure. Squeezable fruit pouches, mashed potatoes, or a pack of instant noodles ( broken or cut up) are perfect to quickly get food into your stomach to take your meds.
- Spicy, salty, or acidic foods and beverages can cause discomfort at your incision site, so it is best to keep your diet bland until your tissue has time to heal.
- Smoothies are the best way to sneak in protein, leafy greens, collagen, and essential nutrients for healing.
- Avoid Carbonated beverages for 2-3 days after surgery.
- Eat what you can tolerate, not what you're craving. Sometimes we may crave foods that we shouldn't eat after oral surgery. However, nothing is worth putting your healing at risk for. Only eat what you are able to easily mash or have to put little effort into chewing, especially right after surgery. You can introduce more solid foods as you are able to tolerate them. The tissues in the mouth heal quickly when they are allowed and encouraged to.
- Rinse as often as you can! The salt water rinse may not taste great, but it is essential to your healing process. Be sure you are following your post op instructions and using whatever rinse(s) you have been told to use.
- See our pinterest list for some of our favorite post op foods and recipes!
What to Eat 48 Hours After
By the second day after wisdom teeth removal you may be ready to eat soft foods. We often tell patients and their escorts, if a toddler can eat it, so can you. Keep foods soft and easily manageable. Having to chew too much can cause jaw tension or soreness but it also can cause the patient to “pack” food in their extraction sites that can lead to infection or discomfort. Some examples include:
- Pudding (traditional or chia based)
- Mashed potatoes
- Cottage cheese
- Smoothies (eat with a spoon, not a straw)
- Ice cream
- Cottage cheese
- Oatmeal or overnight oats (mix with greek yogurt for extra protein)
- Steamed veggies
- Ground meats
- Stewed or pulled soft meats
- Dips and spreads (avoid overly acidic dips until the tissue has healed over)
- Soft bread (avoid super crunchy breads or breads with seeds)
- Quinoa bowls
- Burrito bowls
Let all warm foods cool to lukewarm temperature before eating to avoid irritation to the inflamed tissues in your mouth.
The Importance of Protein for Healing
In order to heal effectively after oral surgery, it is important to eat plenty of protein. This can be a challenge, as it is tempting to eat a lot of sweets for comfort during recovery. But it is important to balance out your diet with protein whenever possible. Good sources of protein include dairy, avocado, eggs, ground meats, nut butters, and bone broth. Commercially available protein powders and ready to drink shakes are a great way to achieve your protein requirements as well. Extra points for supplementing with collagen and amino acids!
Why Go to an Oral Surgeon for Wisdom Teeth Removal?
General dentists do perform tooth extractions, but there are many reasons why oral surgeons are best for wisdom teeth removal. Wisdom teeth are larger and are more likely to be impacted, or stuck under the gums and jawbone, which requires surgery. Oral surgeons have the necessary experience, equipment, and anesthesia to handle complex extractions like wisdom teeth.
Oral and Facial Surgery of Orange Park provides wisdom teeth removal services. We use the least invasive techniques and provide a range of sedation options to make the procedure as comfortable as possible.
Frequently Asked Questions About Wisdom Teeth
Do all wisdom teeth need to be removed?
In some cases, although it is rare, there is enough room in a patient’s mouth for their wisdom teeth to come in properly. If the teeth are in the correct position without causing damage to the jaw or other teeth, they may be able to remain. Your dentist will want to watch them carefully during your regular oral examinations in case they begin to cause problems.
At what age do wisdom teeth develop?
Most people’s wisdom teeth develop or come in sometime between the ages of 17 and 25. They may come in or they may stay below the gums. Your dentist can assess their position and determine if you need to have them removed.