two couples having a glass of wine in an outdoor cafe

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

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 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. Read on to know why, and for how long, you should abstain to ensure you have a successful recovery you can smile about.

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 needs to develop in the extraction area until granulation tissue forms, which can take about a week. If the blood isn't able to clot, you could get something called dry socket.

Dry socket leaves your nerves and bones vulnerable to inflammation and pain. This 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. Typically that will be at least 72 hours, but the safest bet would be to wait the 7-10 days it takes for the granulation tissue to form. Choose to drink water instead; staying hydrated is important during the healing process.

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.
  • Raise your head slightly when lying down.
  • Leave the gauze your dentist placed in your mouth for a few hours to allow the blood clot to form. After that, you can change it as often as needed.
  • Take all medications as directed. Pain relievers can also reduce inflammation.
  • 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.

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.

Foods to Eat Following Tooth Extraction

In addition to staying hydrated after your surgery, avoid hard or tough foods like nuts, hard candy, or steak. Eating nutritious, soft foods can help promote healing and a speedy recovery. Chew on the side of your mouth opposite the surgical site.

Some foods you may want to consider:

  • Scrambled eggs
  • Soup
  • Mashed potatoes
  • Yoghurt
  • Apple sauce
  • Pudding
  • Mashed bananas
  • Other softer foods

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 and be back to your regular self 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.