What Happens if Food Gets Stuck in My Tooth Extraction Hole?

What Happens if Food Gets Stuck in My Tooth Extraction Hole?
Author: Espire Dental Posted: July 18th, 2023 Category:

Food may get stuck in your tooth extraction hole when you eat. So what should you do?

Wisdom tooth extraction is a straightforward and common dental procedure. In fact, one study estimates 10 million third molars or wisdom teeth are removed from roughly 5 million people each year. Yet once the tooth is pulled, you’ll need to follow several guidelines to ensure a swift and complete recovery, including making sure food doesn’t get stuck in the extraction hole.

But even if food lodges in the hole, don’t fret. Instead, try several techniques to safely remove the food particle so your healing continues. Read on to pick up some of our tips. 

Why do you have wisdom teeth?

Unfortunately, wisdom teeth won’t make you smarter. Your wisdom teeth are the fourth set of molars in the back of your mouth. Our ancient ancestors needed those powerful teeth to chew tough, uncooked foods. But as cooking methods softened the food we ate, we gradually lost the need for wisdom teeth. Further, our jaws became smaller, which left little room for these large molars.

Wisdom teeth are the last permanent teeth to erupt, typically between the ages of 17 and 25. In some people, wisdom teeth grow at odd angles that can damage nearby teeth, or they stay within the jawbone. These impacted wisdom teeth cause pain and gum irritation and must be removed. However, even without symptoms, your dentist may recommend removal to avoid problems in the future. Also, younger people experience fewer complications from tooth extraction. But one complication at any age is a food particle stuck in the extraction site.

How do you remove food particles in the extraction hole?

The tooth extraction leaves a gap where the tooth once was. A blood clot will form over the site to protect the bone. Food particles may lodge in the extraction hole during this time and interfere with healing.

If the particle is not causing problems, you can simply wait for it to fall out. Or you can displace it by:

Rinsing with warm salt water. After waiting 24 hours, rinse your mouth with one tablespoon of table salt and eight ounces of room-temperature water. Gently swish the solution in your mouth, but don’t spit it out. That could dislodge the clot. Instead, let the water fall from your mouth. You can also rinse with a germicidal mouthwash recommended by your dentist.

Flushing the particle out with a syringe. Fill a sterile syringe with slightly warm or room-temperature water. Place the syringe near the site but not on it. Spray the food particle out with soft flushes. A spray bottle is another option, but you have to open your mouth wide.

Brushing gently. Brush the food bit gently away with a soft-bristled toothbrush. But wait at least a week before brushing. You can also use a sterile cotton swab; just be sure not to push the particle further into the hole.

How to avoid getting food particles in the extraction hole

Of course, you can prevent food particles from entering the tooth extraction site with some precautions. These three tips will help you do that:

Chew away from the extraction site. Chew your food on the opposite side of the extraction. Admittedly, this may be difficult if you’ve had multiple teeth removed.

Rinse after eating. Rinsing with a warm salt water solution or an antimicrobial mouthwash will prevent particles from entering the site.

Eat a soft diet. Soft foods such as yogurt, mashed potatoes, applesauce, pudding, and smoothies will not get stuck in the extraction site. What will get caught are tough-to-chew foods such as steak or foods with seeds or kernels (nuts, berries, popcorn).

Don’t fear a tooth extraction! See Espire Dental

Schedule an appointment at Espire’s Mission Valley, CA, location today! Our highly trained dentists will make your wisdom tooth extraction and recovery as easy as possible. Don’t live near our Mission Valley, CA, office? Find one of our other locations near you.

Mission Valley, CA
8989 Rio San Diego Drive
Suite 170
San Diego, CA 92108