Having your wisdom teeth removed can disrupt your schedule, but booking the procedure during a busy graduation season can really affect your spring celebration plans. The events, foods, and drinks can all be tempting, but your first priority should still be your recovery. If you're wondering about drinking after wisdom teeth removal, keep in mind tooth extraction and alcohol don't always mix. Know what's OK, what's not and how you can still imbibe.
The First Few Days
The first few days after surgery will keep you a bit swollen and sore. Because of this, you probably won't feel up to drinking alcohol, preferring to stay home and rest up instead. If you find yourself hungry during the first 24 hours afterward, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) suggest cold, soft foods such as applesauce or ice pops to help numb pain with requiring you to chew. If possible, chew on the side of your mouth opposite the extraction site, or, if you've had all four teeth removed, you can opt for liquid foods such as protein shakes.
It's also important that you avoid using a straw when drinking; doing so creates a suction effect that disrupts the clotting that takes place to stop the natural bleeding shortly after the procedure.
If you feel recovered enough to join graduation parties and other spring celebrations, be cautious before you indulge. Drinking after wisdom teeth removal may seem and even feel harmless, but if you're still taking pain medication, mixing the two could cause more complex problems beyond your oral cavity. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism warns that medicine, such as those commonly prescribed to manage pain after a tooth extraction, can be very dangerous when mixed with alcohol.
You can also make yourself more susceptible to falls or injuries, become too impaired to drive and even cause damage to your liver. Always read the warnings that come with your painkillers, and when in doubt, avoid alcohol altogether when taking them. If you're feeling up to celebrating, go for water instead.
An alluring potluck can make your mouth water, but eat with care. Your mouth inflammation may have dissipated enough for you to join in on a Champagne toast, but the extraction sites will remain tender for another few days. Stitches can take three to 14 days to dissolve (if your oral surgeon used dissolvable stitches) or a week or two before they're removed by your surgeon. Opt for soft foods and pass on sharp, crunchy items like chips. You're better off with the fruit platter: grab soft bananas and peeled oranges, or nosh on hummus and pita bread when you're looking for something just as easy to snack on. Avoid hot and spicy foods as well, which could cause inflammation to your already-tender gums.
Of course, once you're done eating (and it's past the initial day after surgery), make sure you brush gently with a soft-bristled brush such as Colgate® Enamel Health® 360® Toothbrush to remove food particles that could cause infection or further pain.
Just because you've had your wisdom teeth removed doesn't mean you have to remove yourself from graduation festivities. Still, you'll need to take the proper precautions to ensure that toasting a grad doesn't mean derailing your recovery process. Party with your friends, all while making sure you stay safe and heal at the same time.