What to Eat After Wisdom Teeth Removal: Safe and Soft Foods

Wisdom teeth are the last molars in the mouth and are prone to partial eruption or impaction. Dentists often recommend removing the wisdom teeth to prevent further complications. Post-surgery recovery depends on taking a nutritious diet. Healing is based on your eating habits, dental care routine, and nutritional guidelines. This article focuses on science-based dietary recommendations after wisdom teeth removal and tips to avoid further complications.

What to eat after wisdom teeth removal: a timeline guide

Eating right can make all the difference in the post-surgery healing process. Your dentist will provide elaborate diet recommendations to ensure effective healing. This is the best time to discuss what and what not to eat.

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Getting back to normal after wisdom teeth removal can take from 7 days to 14 days — depending on how complex the surgery was. Dentists recommend foods according to a standard timeline of wound healing. Let's explore foods you can consume after removing wisdom teeth.

Day 1 (first 24 hours)

The first day is the most crucial time after teeth removal. Do not eat anything for one hour after extraction. Some dentists may advise consuming sugar-free, soft-serve ice cream sorbets or gelatos in the cup without solid mix-ins ice to help relieve the pain. Talk to your dentist before you decide to try one.

Since the tooth socket is sensitive and tender, be cautious with your foods for the rest of your day. Take cold liquid foods and drinks, and stay hydrated. Yogurt, vegetable smoothies, purees, oatmeal, soups, and broths are recommended. Make sure to avoid hot, spicy, or crunchy foods. Foods provide the essential nutrients to heal the oral socket, so keep it nutritious, simple, and easy to swallow.

A dry socket is a common complication, so you need to avoid dislodging the clot over the socket. Avoid swishing, forceful gurgling, or using straws to drink fluids to ensure your blood clot remains in place.

Day 2 (first 48 hours)

This is when you can continue with liquid and soft foods, or start taking semi-solids, depending on the pain levels and discomfort. It is entirely fine if you are comfortable with only liquids. You can also try using a spoon if you wish to try mashed veggies or hummus. Ensure you include foods rich in vitamins and minerals to heal better. Optimize your protein intake. Hydration helps in healing, so drink plenty of water.

Day 3 (first 72 hours)

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By day 3, the pain can subside. Associated symptoms of trismus (restricted mouth opening) and swelling will also lessen. Make sure you don't start consuming crunchy and hard foods immediately. Prepare foods that need minimal chewing. Cottage cheese, scrambled eggs, and mashed apples are good options to get started. Fatty fish is another great option since it is packed with omega-3 fatty acids that may help reduce inflammation.

You can eat what you like — just make sure the texture is soft, smooth, and mussy. Drink an adequate amount of water and continue to use a spoon if you wish.

First week

By this time, your pain and swelling are usually manageable. You can slowly start incorporating easy-to-chew solids, but avoid hot, scalding, and spicy foods. Crunchy foods and nuts that can get stuck in your teeth socket can create unwanted complications in recovery, so they're better avoided.

Second week

By the second week, most of the symptoms will subside, and you are ready to return to your normal diet. Go easy on hard, textured, or crunchy foods like nuts and seeds. Sticky foods and gummies may cause problems, so avoid them as well. The trick is to keep your diet healthy and balanced to ensure you maintain adequate nutrition.

Foods to avoid after wisdom teeth removal

You would want to avoid certain foods post-surgery. This prevents further complications and helps wound recovery. Here is a list of what you should avoid, and why.

  • Crunchy foods. Nuts, seeds, choco chips, and wafers can get into the extraction site, disrupt the clot, and cause bleeding. This can be difficult to remove and act as a source of infections.
  • Hot drinks and foods. Hot foods may be painful to consume. They can irritate the open socket, and if you have a dry socket, they may aggravate the condition. Eat cool foods to prevent these complications.
  • Alcohol. Alcohol may interfere with healing. It may cause side effects if consumed with painkillers.
  • Acidic foods and beverages. Acidic soft drinks and fruit juices may increase pain levels and irritation and delay healing. Avoid citrus fruits, tomatoes, and sodas during the first week after surgery.
  • Spicy and sticky items. Certain spices may irritate the nerves around the surgical site. Sticky foods can stick to the wound site and serve as a source of recurrent infections.

Tips for eating after wisdom teeth removal

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Be mindful of what you eat and how you eat. Your dentist will advise you to follow instructions after removing wisdom teeth. Here are 5 tips to manage pain and keep the area clean:

  1. Chew foods with the opposite side.
  2. Divide your food into a small bolus, and take small bites.
  3. Don't skip your routine dental care. Brush and floss as recommended by your dentist.
  4. Avoid smoking, alcohol, and vaping for as long as you can.
  5. Avoid forceful sucking or spitting.
Seek help when needed
A slight oozing or mild discomfort is common in the first week following extraction. However, if you suffer from continuous pain and bleeding after three days of teeth removal, see a specialist. You might be facing a serious complication.

Common complications after wisdom teeth removal

Avoiding complications is key to faster healing. Complications after getting wisdom teeth removed can vary in occurrence and intensity. Infection at the surgical site, often manifested as a dry socket, may be a common complication in mandibular wisdom teeth extraction. Some people may suffer nerve damage and prolonged numbness in the affected jaw. Limited mouth opening is also commonly noted after a complex surgical extraction of third molars. While most of these are transient, it is best to be in touch with a dentist and discuss your issues right away.

Eating right and proper hydration is key to ensuring that the tooth socket heals efficiently. Cold, soft, and semi-solid foods will be your savior for the next few days. Within a week, you can reintroduce more foods as per your comfort. Make sure to follow your dentist's recommendations throughout.

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