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Alcohol After a Tooth Extraction: Is It OK To Have a Drink?

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Medically Reviewed By Colgate Global Scientific Communications

Nobody would blame you if getting your tooth pulled makes you want to have a drink. But don't go reaching in the fridge or the alcohol cabinet just yet. Alcohol can have adverse effects on your healing time that simply aren't worth it, no matter how tasty the beverage. We'll let you know why, and for how long, you'll want to abstain to ensure you have a successful recovery you can smile about.

What Is a Tooth Extraction?

Tooth extractions involve removing a tooth from its socket in the bone. You might need a tooth extraction for various reasons, including infection, injury, or to make room in your mouth for orthodontic treatment. Wisdom teeth removal is a specific type of tooth extraction that involves your third molars. All tooth extractions fall into two categories:

  • Simple extractions usually involve removing a tooth that's visible in your mouth. General dentists commonly perform these procedures by numbing the tooth and surrounding gum tissue before loosening and removing it from the mouth.
  • Surgical extractions occur when a tooth has broken at the gumline or failed to erupt, such as an impacted wisdom tooth. Oral surgeons typically perform these procedures; however, general dentists can as well. During the surgical extraction, the dental professional makes a small incision into your gum to remove the tooth.

Can You Have Alcohol After a Tooth Extraction?

We hate to be the bearers of bad news, but the answer is no. After you get your tooth removed, a blood clot must form in the extraction area until granulation tissue forms, which can take a week or more. If the blood isn't able to clot, you could get something called a dry socket. This painful condition slows your recovery process. It could require more follow-up visits with your dental professional and can leave you in extreme discomfort with pain radiating from your mouth and throughout your face.

Learn more about dry socket prevention.

So How Long Should You Wait to Have a Drink?

It's best to avoid alcohol after getting a tooth pulled for as long as your dentist or oral surgeon recommends. The safest bet would be to wait about 7-10 days while the wound heals. Choose to drink water instead; staying hydrated is important during the healing process.

You should also consider any medications you are taking for pain before consuming alcohol. Mixing pain relief medications — both prescribed and over-the-counter — with alcohol is dangerous and can cause adverse effects. It's best to wait until you no longer require any pain relief medications before resuming alcohol use.

Post-Operative Tips

There are other steps you can take to make sure your recovery goes smoothly:

  • Rest for at least 24 hours after the extraction.
  • Leave the gauze your dentist placed in your mouth for a few hours to allow the blood clot to form. Then you can change it as often as needed.
  • Place an ice bag near the surgical area to reduce swelling.
  • Avoid rinsing your mouth vigorously so you don't dislodge your clot.
  • Don't use straws for 24 hours and avoid spitting.
  • Don't smoke or use any tobacco products for at least three days following the procedure.
  • Eat nutritious, soft foods to promote healing.

If you have any concerning symptoms after your procedure, such as vomiting, severe pain, or heavy bleeding, call your dentist as soon as possible.

Learn more about tooth extraction healing time.

It's best to avoid drinking alcohol after a tooth extraction, as tempting as it may be. Take care of yourself, and you'll heal up before you know it. By following these steps, as well as the aftercare instructions provided by your dentist, you'll be on your way to a fully healed and healthy mouth you can smile about. We'll "cheers" to that.

Oral Care Center articles are reviewed by an oral health medical professional. This information is for educational purposes only. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist, physician or other qualified healthcare provider. 

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