What foods you eat after a tooth extraction matters. In general, the softer the food is, the better.
About 5 million wisdom teeth are removed yearly, making it one of the most frequently performed dental procedures. Yet, an extraction can be done for other reasons than pulling an impacted wisdom tooth. Severely decayed or broken teeth are candidates for extractions, although usually as a last resort. A tooth extraction can relieve severe overcrowding, too.
With anesthesia, the actual extraction is nearly painless. But getting a tooth pulled is a significant oral surgery, and there will be a recovery period of one to two weeks. You must switch your diet from solid foods to softer alternatives during the first days after the procedure. By making the right choices, you can still get the nutrition you need while giving your mouth the time to heal.
What can you eat after tooth extraction?
This is by no means a complete list of what you can eat. Much will depend on your dentist’s instructions and your personal preferences. When you can start to eat more solid foods again will also be dictated by the extensiveness of the surgery, such as if you had more than one tooth pulled and how well you heal.
When your mouth is sore, you might not have the appetite to eat. Nevertheless, you need the vitamins and nutrients of foods to speed up your recovery. To play it safe, a soft food diet should be followed for at least 24 to 48 hours after the extraction. Try these options:
Creamy soups. Creamy soups such as tomato and pumpkin are easier to consume and don’t require a lot of chewing. Since extremely hot foods can irritate the extraction site, eat the soups at lukewarm or cold temps. Broths are also good choices.
Yogurt. Greek yogurt is rich in protein, vitamins, and minerals and promotes healing. Its smooth consistency also makes it easy to consume.
Mashed potatoes. Mashed potatoes are also nutrient-rich and provide your body with the energy it needs to perform everyday tasks. Just make sure the mashed potatoes have no chunks.
Scrambled eggs. Scrambled eggs are packed with protein and require minimal effort to chew. For an extra protein boost, stir in cottage cheese with your eggs.
Smoothies. Made with yogurt or protein powder, smoothies pack a powerful nutritional punch. However, spoon the smoothie instead of sipping it through a straw. The sucking action could dislodge the blood clot over the extraction, leading to a painful dry socket.
Mashed bananas. The soft texture of mashed bananas makes chewing a breeze. Bananas also provide essential nutrients such as potassium and vitamin B6.
Applesauce. While hard, crunchy apples are not recommended, applesauce gives you the taste of the fruit and its vitamins and minerals.
What you shouldn’t eat
Steer clear of any product requiring a great deal of chewing. This would include crunchy, hard-to-chew foods such as chips, cookies, and steak. Sticky foods fall into this category, too.
Nuts and seeds should also be avoided, as those bits can get stuck in the extraction site and cause irritation. Similarly, spicy foods can inflame the wound as it heals, causing pain and irritation.
Other tips for healing after a tooth extraction
While important, a soft diet isn’t the only part of your healing process. After tooth extraction, be sure to follow these tips:
Keep the gauze pad on the site. Your dentist will place a gauze pad on the site after the extraction. Keep it there for at least two to four hours to help form a clot over the wound. If it becomes soaked with blood, you can change it.
Refrain from brushing right away. But you can rinse your mouth with warm water and salt three days after the extraction. When you start brushing again, avoid the area around the extraction site until completely healed.
Take pain relievers. Commercial or prescription pain medications can alleviate your discomfort. If you notice any swelling, apply an ice pack to your face.
Don’t smoke. Puffing on a cigarette may dislodge the blood clot. And smoking will prolong your recovery period.
Complications are rare, but if you experience any unusual symptoms such as fever, excessive bleeding, and persistent pain, contact your dentist immediately.
We’re here to help you through your tooth extraction
Schedule an appointment at Espire’s La Mesa location today! Our highly trained dentists have performed hundreds of extractions and will guide you through yours. Don’t live near our La Mesa, CA, office? Find one of our other locations near you.
La Mesa, CA
8555 Fletcher Pkwy.
La Mesa, CA 91942